After all of the mishaps during Shell’s short Arctic drilling season this year, which included a failed and damaged containment dome, sea ice delays, the drillship Discoverer losing its moorings and almost running aground, and last week’s near disaster as the drillship Kulluk ran slipped its towline in heavy weather and ran aground off of Kodiak Island, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has order an expedited assessment of the program. I have expressed my concerns about the risks of Arctic offshore drilling on this blog before, and these challenges have underscored those risks, and they haven’t even drilled to the productive interval yet. All new programs have problems getting off the ground; the problem here is that the conditions are so harsh that the margin for error is virtually non-existent. The OGJ article about Salazar’s order is below:
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