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Posts Tagged ‘Nobel Discoverer’

Will the shale-oil revolution sink Shell’s Arctic ambitions?

Alex DeMarban | Jan 20, 2013

Perhaps more important than the clamor of environmentalists, the grandstanding of politicians, or the blunders of Royal Dutch Shell‘s own making is how long oil prices will remain high enough to support Arctic exploration in northern Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas.

Not long, believes one analyst watching the clouds gather over the Lower 48, where a shale-oil boom and new railroad projects are expected to push more oil toward the same West Coast refineries where Alaska crude is processed.

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Why Shell Should Just Quit Its Alaska Drilling Fiasco

Christopher Helman, Forbes Staff: I’m based in Houston, Texas. Energy capital of the world.

Royal Dutch Shell is taking flack from all directions today as a team of salvage experts try to figure out how to free the $290 million Kulluk floating drilling rig that ran aground on the coast of Alaska Monday. The crew of the Kulluk has been rescued, and thanks to a 3-inch steel hull none of the diesel fuel onboard has spilled. But this latest fiasco in a long line of mishaps further underscores the risks of exploring for oil in the Arctic Chukchi and Beaufort seas.

Shell has sunk more than $5 billion into its Alaskan venture since acquiring leases for $2 billion four years ago, and has precious little to show for it. In 2010, when Shell thought it was ready to go, it was stopped by the federal offshore drilling moratorium in the wake of BP‘s disaster. Then there were years of delays as Shell made improvements to the Kulluk rig to meet draconian EPA regulations on diesel emissions. Then in 2012 Shell faced permitting delays on its Arctic Challenger barge, which is to meant to help capture oil in the event of a Deepwater Horizon-style blowout. Worse, the Challenger was damaged during testing in Washington state, requiring weeks of repairs. In July the anchors of the Kulluk’s sister ship, the Noble Discoverer, came loose and dragged across the seafloor. In the short drilling season between July and October, Shell managed only to begin drilling two wells, in the Berger and Sivulliq prospects, before having to pull up and clear out before ice set in. It only got that little bit of work after the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management approved Shell’s request that it be allowed to drill a little later into the season than is generally thought wise.

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Shell Oil drilling vessel is adrift in Gulf of Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An unmanned mobile oil drilling rig owned by Royal Dutch Shell is adrift — again — south of Kodiak Island after it lost towlines Sunday afternoon from two vessels trying to hold it in place against what have been pummeling winds and high seas, according to incident management leaders: In October 1980, in a situation eerily similar to what is happening now, 18 crew members were evacuated off a jack-up drilling rig named the Dan Prince as rough seas in the North Pacific 650 miles south of Kodiak threatened to destroy the unit, according to news reports at the time. Crews couldn’t attach a towline. The rig then sank, according to an online listing of rig disasters.

Posted on Monday, 12.31.12

By Lisa Demer of The Anchorage Daily News

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An unmanned mobile oil drilling rig owned by Royal Dutch Shell is adrift — again — south of Kodiak Island after it lost towlines Sunday afternoon from two vessels trying to hold it in place against what have been pummeling winds and high seas, according to incident management leaders.

A team of 250 people from the Coast Guard, the state of Alaska, Shell, and one of its contractors was hunkered down Sunday, mainly in Midtown Anchorage’s Frontier Building, trying to resolve the ongoing crisis with Shell’s drilling rig, the Kulluk.

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Shell May Trim 2012 Alaska Drilling for Inspections, Ice

By Katarzyna Klimasinska on July 26, 2012

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) may have to scale back its Arctic oil-exploration this year after unrelenting ice and trouble passing U.S. Coast Guard inspections delayed the planned July start of drilling.

The company’s fleet remains in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, days away from the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off the state’s north coast, waiting for ice to break up and the U.S. to issue final permits for drilling five test wells. Arctic conditions require Shell to quit work by late October, before ice reforms.

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Shell’s ship drifting incident should raise red flags for Alaskans

Carey Restino | The Arctic Sounder | Jul 21, 2012

I am not a boat captain, not of a skiff or even a dingy. I’ve never dropped an anchor and I have no idea what it’s like to be in charge of a vessel more than 500 feet long.

So when my uneducated eyes saw the image of Arctic-bound Shell Oil drillship Noble Discoverer snuggling up to the beach near Unalaska, I, like many, dropped jaw and asked, “How on earth could they have let that happen?”

But noting my ignorance, I asked the opinion of people who do deal with big vessels on a daily basis. Their response? “How on earth could they have let that happen?”

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Shell’s still waiting

Company needs Chukchi ice to clear & barge certification before drilling start

By Alan Bailey: Published Week of July 22, 2012

Shell’s two drilling vessels, the Noble Discoverer and the Kulluk, are still moored at Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands, waiting for ice to clear in the northern Chukchi Sea before embarking on the company’s much anticipated Arctic drilling venture. However, the company also needs U.S. Coast Guard certification of its containment barge Arctic Challenger, still docked in Seattle, and the transfer north of that vessel, before drilling can begin.

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Shell denies witness’ claim that drilling rig dragged for 2 hours

His eyewitness version of events differs significantly from Shell Oil Co.’s assessment of what happened.

Anchorage Daily News

Published: July 16th, 2012 10:21 PM
Last Modified: July 16th, 2012 10:35 PM

For two hours before a big Shell drilling ship stopped near shore Saturday afternoon, a Dutch Harbor resident noticed it slowly moving in that direction, an observed time that contradicts with the much shorter period of uncontrolled drifting in Shell’s account of the close call.

James Mason, a journalist who has lived in Dutch Harbor for a year and runs an online local news site, said he glanced at the Noble Discoverer out the window of his home a few times that afternoon and also was eyeing it as he tooled around town. He lives on Standard Oil hill overlooking the airport and Unalaska Bay, where the ship was moored.

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