Shell's Arctic Operations Raise Questions
Just as environmentalists had feared, oil companies may be moving too quickly to operate safely in Arctic waters. A Shell Oil drilling ship slipped its anchor in Alaska's Dutch Harbor Saturday, following a mooring problem on the same vessel a year prior in New Zealand.
The 571-foot Noble Discoverer drifted extremely close to shore before it was towed away and re-anchored. Fortunately, no damage was done, and the Coast Guard is inspecting the ship as part of an ongoing investigation.
Owned by Noble Drilling, the ship is part of Shell's fleet to take part in planned exploratory offshore drilling in the Arctic waters of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. But the recent incident raises questions about the ship's capabilities. Last year, its eight-anchor mooring system failed in a severe storm off the coast of New Zealand.
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However, Shell spokesman Curtis Smith defends the incident, claiming that the procedures that took place were “textbook” and worked well. He says only one anchor broke its line and the others held, not to mention that the anchor system used in the Arctic would be far different from the one used in New Zealand.
Despite fierce opposition, the company is moving forward on its $2.1 billion worth of leases in the area it purchased in 2008. Exploratory wells are set to be drilled this summer, beginning as early as August.
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.