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Offshore Problems Beset Shell in North

Scenes of recent offshore mishaps around Alaska. Click for bigger image
Equipment failures and high seas have troubled operations for RoyEquipment failures and high seas have troubled operations for Royal Dutch Shell in the Alaska region as 2012 draws to an end.

A drilling platform that had become disabled broke from its tow vessels in high seas and ran aground on the rocky shore of Kodiak Island.

Over the weekend, the Coast Guard supervised recovery of a drilling platform that had been drifting in waters near Kodiak and Trinity Islands south of Alaska. The Kulluk became uncontrollable when its tow vessel lost power. Eighteen workers were evacuated, and power was restored to the engines. But a plan to tow the Kulluk to Kodiak Island was delayed by 20-foot waves and 30-knot winds.

The plight of the Kulluk is only part of the problems Shell has suffered. In September a containment dome failed tests while at a facility in Washington state, which meant that Shell would have to delay for at least a season planned offshore drilling at the Burger Prospect in the Chukchi Sea just north of Alaska's Arctic coast.

But problems arose on its contractor's ship Noble Discoverer which had been operating at Burger. After steaming south to Dutch Harbor the Noble began to develop a vibration. The problems worsen to the point where the Coast Guard ordered the Noble to stay in port at Seward, on Alaska's southeast coast. The Noble Discoverer however on Dec. 19 was able to travel to Seattle, Washington, for repairs.al Dutch Shell in the Alaska region as 2012 draws to an end.

Over the weekend, the Coast Guard supervised recovery of a drilling platform that had been drifting in waters roughly between Kodiak and Trinity Islands to the south of Alaska. The Kulluk became uncontrollable when its tow vessel lost power in its engines. Eighteen workers were eventually evacuated, and power was restored to the engines. But a plan to tow the Kulluk to Kodiak Island was delayed by 20-foot waves and 30-knot winds.

The plight of the Kulluk is only part of the problems Shell has suffered. In September a containment dome failed tests while at a facility in Washington state, which meant that Shell would have to delay for at least a season planned offshore drilling at the Burger Prospect in the Chukchi Sea just north of Alaska's Arctic coast.

But problems arose on its contractor's ship Noble Discoverer which had been operating at Burger. After steaming south to Dutch Harbor the Noble began to develop a vibration. The problems worsen to the point where the Coast Guard ordered the Noble to stay in port at Seward, on Alaska's southeast coast. The Noble Discoverer however on Dec. 19 was able to travel to Seattle, Washington, for repairs.


Map of Shell Mishaps Near Alaska

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