Today, the Obama administration cancelled planned lease sales in the offshore Arctic.  Apparently (and thankfully) offshore drilling above the Arctic Circle is dead for the foreseeable future.

 

 

Noble Discoverer Cited for Safety Violations

Last night, Rachel Maddow reported on the Coast Guard investigation of the Noble Discoverer, one of the drill ships being used by Shell for offshore drilling in the Arctic.  The Discoverer, built in 1966 and refurbished a couple times, last in 2009, was cited for 16 violations of safety and operational standards.  Read the rest of this entry

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:

Salazar orders review of 2012 Arctic oil, gas drilling – Oil & Gas Journal.

Good article by FuelFix about Black Elk Energy’s history of dozens of warnings and citations from regulators for its Gulf of Mexico operations.

Shell Reports That Sea Ice is Moving off of Burger

Shell reported today that sea ice is finally moving away from the Burger prospect in the Chukchi Sea. No word on when drilling will resume.

Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis | Sea ice data updated daily with one-day lag.

Shell Arctic Safety System’s Problems Plague Alaska Drilling Plans.

Huge ice floe continues to shut down drilling on Shell’s Burger prospect.

Ice still delaying Shell Arctic offshore drilling – CBS News.

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