Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Drifting Shell drilling rig grounds on rocks off Alaska

An oil drilling rig owned by Royal Dutch Shell Plc ran aground in Alaska after drifting in stormy weather, highlighting the serious risks of working in an offshore region where some in the industry see huge potential.
While the U.S. Coast Guard was concerned about a potential spill from the drillship, named the Kulluk, its hull appeared sound after a few over flights.
Coast Guard Captain Paul Mehler said the Kulluk had 143,000 gallons of ultra-low-sulphur diesel and 12,000 gallons of other oil products on board.
The grounding of the drillship, weighing nearly 28,000 gross tons and operated by Noble Corp , is a blow to Shell's $4.5 billion (2.7 billion pounds) offshore program in Alaska.
The rig had been headed to Puget Sound for maintenance and upgrades when it broke away from one of its tow lines and was driven to rocks just off Kodiak Island that night. The 18-member crew had already been evacuated by the Coast Guard because of risks from the storm.

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