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You are here Stakes are too high with Arctic drilling, and Shell isn’t ready

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 09.25.26From an article by Lois Epstein published 21 Jan 2015 by Alaska Dispatch News


Two years ago on New Year’s Eve, Shell’s Kulluk Arctic offshore drilling rig grounded near Kodiak Island. It was an industrial calamity heard around the world, including a cover story in the Jan. 4 issue of The New York Times magazine.

Between Shell’s 2012 offshore drilling and mobilization problems and the federal government’s difficulties in overseeing Arctic Ocean leasing as discussed below — not to mention the recent dramatic drop in the price of oil — it is becoming increasingly clear that Arctic Ocean drilling faces insurmountable hurdles, especially in 2015.

As is clear from the grounding of the Kulluk, moving drilling rigs and other infrastructure to and from the Arctic Ocean without incident is both complex and critical to drilling success. Even though many of these mobilization risks are under the U.S. Coast Guard’s jurisdiction, they need to be disclosed and quantified by the Interior Department. Despite Shell’s 2012 debacle, the department did not sufficiently address mobilization risks.

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