BY ALISON SIDER
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – One day after starting to drill the first well in Alaska’s Arctic offshore in more than two decades, Royal Dutch Shell said Monday it needed to move its rig as a precaution against sea ice that could move into the area. Shell said it decided to temporarily move off the Burger-A well after the wind shifted, in order to avoid a chunk of ice it has been monitoring.
“Part of working in ice is having the ability to temporarily relocate,” spokesman Kelly op de Weegh said in a news release. The Noble Discoverer, one of the two drillships Shell leased for the Alaska drilling campaign, had begun drilling the “top hole” of the prospect. Shell said it is disconnecting from the ship’s anchors, and will come back to the area and resume drilling when the ice moves on.
After clearing countless regulatory hurdles over six years, the company has only a short window to drill in Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort Seas before sea ice takes hold. That window could close by late September in the Chukchi and Late October in the Beaufort, depending on weather forecasts. The company plans to do work in up to five Arctic wells this season–three in the Chukchi Sea and two in the Beaufort Sea.
With all the fucking ice management Shell is paying for up there, that had better be one piece of massive multiyear bright blue old pack bearing down them and it better be on a collision course! I mean to just drop everything like that shows such a lack of confidence and fear on their part to not give me any belief in their abilities to work in the Arctic! It’s fucking September 11th! The DISCO is supposed to be out of there in 13 days! How on earth is Shell ever going be able to get anything done up there if this is the best they can do!