Thursday, 3 January 2013

0 Shell ship grounding fuels Arctic drilling argue

There's no sign of a fuel drip from a petroleum drilling ship that ran aground on a remote Alaska island, the Coast Guard says of a maritime accident that has refueled debate over oil examination in the U.S. Arctic Ocean.
The Royal Dutch Shell PLC ship was being towed to a Pacific Northwest shipyard for preservation when it went aground during a cruel storm New Year's Eve.

shell ship

"There are still no signs of any sheen or ecological impact and the Kulluk appears to be stable," Coast Guard Capt. Paul Mehler said Wednesday night, after flying over the rig with a Shell representative and an Alaska Environmental Conservation Department official.
He said he saw 4 life boats on the shoreline but there was no indication that other debris had been ripped from the ship.
The overflight in drizzle and 35 mph winds showed a few birds but no marine mammals near the rig, said Steve Russell of the Environmental Conservation Department.
Calmer climate conditions on Wednesday allowed a team of 5 salvage experts to be lowered by helicopter to the Royal Dutch Shell PLC ship to behavior a 3-hour structural assessment.
After the grounding, critics speedily asserted that it has foreshadowed what will happen north of the Bering Strait if drilling is allowed.
Environmentalists for years have said conditions are too cruel and the stakes too high to allow manufacturing development in the Arctic, where drilling sites are 1,000 miles or more from the closest Coast Guard base.
For oil giant Shell, which leads the way in drilling in the border waters of the U.S Arctic, a spokesman said the grounding will be a learning experience in the company's yearslong effort to draw oil from beneath the ocean floor, which it maintains it can do safely. Though no wells exist there yet, Shell says it has invested billions of dollars gearing up for drilling in the Beaufort and the Chukchi seas, off Alaska's north and northwest coast.
The potential bounty is high: The U.S. Geological Survey estimates 26.6 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 130 trillion cubic feet of natural gas exist below Arctic waters.
Environmentalists note the Beaufort and Chukchi seas are some of the wildest and most remote ecosystems on the planet. They also are among the most fragile, supporting polar bears, the ice seals they feed on, walrus, endangered whales and other marine mammals that Alaska Natives depend on for their subsistence culture.
"The Arctic is just far different than the Gulf of Alaska or even other places on earth," said Marilyn Heiman, U.S. Arctic director for the Pew Environment Group.



Post a Comment