Shell's Arctic Operations Raise Questions

By Admin
Just as environmentalists had feared, oil companies may be moving too quickly to operate safely in Arctic waters. A Shell Oil drilling ship slipped it...

 

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.

SEE OTHER TOP STORIES IN THE ENERGY DIGITAL CONTENT NETWORK

Oil Exploration Ramps up in Arctic

Xena: Warrior Princess Fights for Arctic

Read more in July's issue of Energy Digital: The Future of Transportation

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.

 

DOWNLOAD THE ENERGY DIGITAL IPAD APP

 

Share

Featured Articles

Shell invests in Qatar LNG North Field East project

Shell buys 25% stake in Qatar LNG North Field East expansion project which will have capacity of 32mn tonnes a year

Gas-led recession a 'near certainty' in Europe

Centre for Economics and Business Research estimates the risk of a recession in Europe this winter at approximately 40%

ABB scoops global energy automation technology award

ABB excels in innovating subsea systems and electrification services and providing underwater control solutions according to Frost & Sullivan

INEOS Köln awarded €770,000 for green hydrogen study

Renewable Energy

UK receives £2.7bn upfront funding to boost grid capacity

Utilities

Poland and Germany best placed for gas-to-coal switch

Oil & Gas