Welcome login | signup
Language en es fr

Forum Post: List of Questions on Shell’s Alaska 2012 Arctic Drilling Fiasco Grows Longer by the Day

Posted 5 years ago on Jan. 7, 2013, 12:38 a.m. EST by GirlFriday (17435)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement


And open up the comments section to see some really important questions there.



Read the Rules
[-] 4 points by frovikleka (2563) from Island Heights, NJ 5 years ago

I followed the trials of the eventual grounding of the Shell oil rig Kulluk off Sitkalidak Island (near Kodiak) fairly closely in the Anchorage Daily News while in Alaska (having left Jan. 4th). From my persective which is based on having had a career in the marine transprtaion industry out of NY, their problems stemmed from bad seamanship which includes bad decision making.

Although far from being an expert, here are some questions that I would ask for starters at an inquiry:

*1. Why did they wait until Dec. 21st to leave Dutch Harbor for Seattle to do winter maintenance considering that towing a drill rig is not ideal in good conditions.The weather in the Gulf of Alaska can be brutal in the winter.

*2. On Christmas day winds were 50 mph. Seas increased to 35 ft. in the subsequent days. Could they have gotten into a safe port and gone weather-bound until the winds died down? Despite having equipment much bigger than what I was used to, including the 360 ft. Tug Aiviq with a crew of 22, i question whether they should have been out there.

*3. On Dec. 27th a buckle on the towline (usually a cable) breaks in 20-25 ft. seas. Here, i would ask if they were using a buckle (probably a shackle) that was up to the task, and i would also ask how much towline they had out. The higher the seas, the more towline that is needed. The quandary though is, if the tug were navigating in close quarters near islands or shallow water, the towline has to be shortened so that the Kulluk did not drift into shallow water while under tow, however a shorter towline increases the strain on the towline/buckle/shackle. Most barges that deal solely with the transportation of petroleum products, as the ones i worked on were are designed to 'follow' the tug when in tow. This is not the case for the drill rig Kulluk which was coned shaped, and designed for drilling, hence it most likely did not 'follow' well necessitating a shorter...more likely to part towline

*4. On Dec. 28th, the Tug Aiviq lost power to all four of its engines. The question that i would ask here is, 'did the engiineer check the fuel for water contamination, and is there anyway water could have leaked into the fuel after leaving the fueling dock? Checking for water in your fuel is common practice.

*5. The last question would be: Did you have the best possible equipment for the type of demanding work that you took on? While i am unfamiliar with the winch that was mentioned in the link above, i would imagine it is one that is designed to let the towline drum/winch pay out a little just before the cable reaches its capacity making it less likely to part.

Yes, they would be good questions to start an inquiry with.


[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 5 years ago

Somewhere I read that the timing was due to tax reasons. Not sure if that's true, but if it is, well, it kind of leaves you speechless on many levels. Then, after the speechlessness for an hour or day, hopefully, it would drive us towards nonviolent direct action to expose the truth to the general public.

[-] 1 points by frovikleka (2563) from Island Heights, NJ 5 years ago

I think you read that in GF's link above. Apparently Shell's drilling rig Kulluk had to leave Alaskan waters before January 1st if it wanted to avoid having to pay another year of Alaskan state tax, about $7 million. Whether they took too much time to drill their last exploratory well, or had some other delay in leaving for maintenance in Seattle, I don't know. I do know that leaving that late in the year from the Gulf of Alaska with that kind ot tow is not a good idea. I've went out there in the summer to Kodiak Island, and even then, it can get rough. Winter is a whole other story. In any event, I read on the Anchorage Daily News web site that they were able to pull the Kulluk off the ground, and it is now anchored in a safe harbor in Kodiak where it will be inspected,thoroughly by the USCG.

I do question if Shell has the expertise to drill in those kind of waters. While this recent Kulluk incident had to do with bad seamanship, which probably includes the Tug captain succumbing to pressure to leave when he did, Shell has had its fair share of problems before this with othe rigs.

I remembered reading a while back about a Norwegian oil drilling company that had a stellar safety record drillling for oil in the North Sea so i checked it out. The government owned Statoil not only has retained its great safety record, but they have these safety shut-off switches that kick in ....in the event of a blow-out, like what happened in the Gulf of Mexico. To my understanding our off-shore oil wells are not required to have these switches which cost a hallf million dollars each. Add to all of this: Most of the profits from Statoil go back to the people of Norway. Another great idea by those Scandinavians! ;-)



[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 5 years ago

That is very revealing. . . A government FOR the PEOPLE.

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 5 years ago

Ask them why they aren't looking at growing hemp for seed oil.

It's a no-brainer. Cleanest burning oil, and requires no chemicals or refinement.

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 5 years ago

Right after these questions are answered.