Buls Eye is EFFING PERFECT!

Bruce Buls could not have made a clearer and more truthful statement concerning Shell’s arctic clown circus that he does in this piece!

[B]Shell requests lease extensions in the Arctic[/B]

Bruce Buls October 28, 2014

According to an article in Bloomberg News yesterday, Royal Dutch Shell wants the Obama administration to add five years to the company’s 10-year leases in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, some of which expire in 2015. In a July 10 letter from Shell’s Alaska office to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, which was obtained by Oceana, an environmental group with offices in Juneau, Alaska, as part of a Freedom of Information Act request, Shell laid out the factors supporting its request.

These constraining factors include: multiple time-consuming federal court and administrative challenges, appeals, and remands, based upon findings that the government had failed adequately to carry out its legal obligations; BSEE’s unexpected and unprecedented determination to introduce a fixed operational time constraint on drilling into a prospective reservoir zone, specifically the Sept. 24 cut-off; accommodation of Alaska Native whaling season in the Beaufort Sea; limited Arctic-viable and regulatory-compliant drilling rigs; and BSEE’s announced intention to develop new, comprehensive operating regulations specific to all future drilling operations on the Alaska OCS.

I suspect that Shell has legitimate grounds to ask for an extension, especially based on the legal delays, but citing “limited Arctic-viable and regulatory-compliant drilling rigs” as justification for an extension doesn’t wash. [B]Sure, these rigs are in limited supply, but Shell presumably knew that when it signed the 10-year leases. Why wasn’t Shell prepared to provide these rigs? Why didn’t it purpose-build state-of-the-art rigs and support vessels?[/B] The letter to BSEE states that “despite Shell’s best efforts and demonstrated diligence, circumstances beyond Shell’s control have prevented, and are continuing to prevent, Shell from completing even the first exploration well in either area.”

[B]The Kulluk and the Noble Discoverer represent Shell’s best efforts? That’s the best that one of the world’s richest corporations can do?[/B]

Drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic will happen one day because the reserves are just too large to keep on ice forever, but it must be done with the best equipment and under the strictest conditions. Shell may ultimately be able to recoup its $6 billion investment, but first it must take responsibility for its notable and preventable screw-ups in 2012 and demonstrate a willingness to do it right. Pointing fingers at Native whalers and whining about seasonal limitations just doesn’t cut it.

How many GODDAMNED years has Shell had to learn and do the right thing and build new rigs to work in the Arctic…they were willing to pay ECO through their ass for the AIVIQ so why the FUCK not pay somebody that same mega money to build a couple of ice rigs for them? Wait a minute, suddenly a tiny electrode in my brain is throwing sparks telling me they did and that both those turned out to be utterly worthless pigs completely incapable to work in the ice, just like the AIVIQ is a worthless huge blue whale too huge and moribund to do anything worthwhile other than hold a very large pier up in Everett! IT IS ALMOST 2015, DOES SHELL HAVE A SINGLE PERSON WHO KNOWS ONE EFFING THING ABOUT VESSELS TO WORK IN ALASKA YET?

I hear very faint calliope muzak playing…

Doesn’t matter.

The fix is in, bought and paid for.

Once the market price and production status lines up, that oil is going straight to Japan, S. Korea and China.

Move along. We gave you a few jobs, a little royalty money and some contributions (nicely disguised but well targeted)

Nothing to see here.

Unless you can trump K Street … which gets paid to sort this out, full time.

Been there done that.

The Kulluk and the Noble Discoverer represent Shell’s best efforts? That’s the best that one of the world’s richest corporations can do?

I still don’t see anything wrong with Kulluk. The conical mobile drilling unit, practically an icebreaker bow to every direction, had been operating in the Arctic since the 1980s and had never had problems with ice. Originally, it was developed for more difficult ice conditions than those encountered off Alaska. It was the open water conditions south of the Bering Strait that failed it.

Now that Molikpaq has been converted into a production platform in Sakhalin, the only Arctic-capable drilling rig I can think of is the SSDC, which is cold stacked somewhere. However, I’m not sure if Shell is allowed to use structures that are standing on the seafloor…

Does anyone know what Shell had in mind for the production phase?

[QUOTE=Tups;147050]Does anyone know what Shell had in mind for the production phase?[/QUOTE]

I doubt Shell had anyone on staff capable to even thinking that far ahead…

btw…that SSDC looks about the perfect running mate for the NOBLE DISCOVERER…that is perfect to be converted to a submerged reef!

what rubes Shell must be to think the world would believe this ship was not aground here!

I notice MaineCheng is no longer on here to add insight from Shell’s perspective…he was obviously MUZZLED by his OVERLORDS!

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What was wrong with the Ice Max?

Too shallow for DP rigs, not sure how deep it would need to be for them to work.

[QUOTE=coldduck;147064]Too shallow for DP rigs, not sure how deep it would need to be for them to work.[/QUOTE]

I do not understand why a DP drillship cannot operate in 300 feet of water. That makes no sense to me. Is there a real reason, or just some theoretical objection?

Thought I heard noise abatement was an issue up North too. I’m pretty sure where we drilled it was less than 200ft.

Also, if there’s ice, normal DP systems may not operate properly and the vessel may not be able to maintain position as well as in open water.

[QUOTE=Tups;147082]Also, if there’s ice, normal DP systems may not operate properly and the vessel may not be able to maintain position as well as in open water.[/QUOTE]

But there isn’t any significant ice at the Berger prospect during the proposed July 1st to September 24th drilling season. Mostly no ice whatsoever and only occasionally ice flows that are mostly less than one inch thick.

Given the draft of a DP drillship, like the Stena Icemax, thin surface ice seems unlikely to reach the thrusters.

One would hope that an “Arctic spec” drillship named “IceMax” is designed to operate in the ice.

alot of what makes a drillship arctic capable is the weatherization of the drilling package and the accommodations rather that hull strength or configuration. I believe STENA ICEMAX was intended for places like offshore Greenland and the Barents Sea rather than the winter packice of the Chukchi or Beaufort Seas. For those shallow seas in the winter, you need a bottom bearing unit with a cylindrical shape or an anchored unit like the KULLUK with all the fairleads under the ice level and a shape which does not require the heading the be changed. What has always amazed me is Shell’s insistence to stay with the effing DISCO which must be slowly slewed to a new heading everytime the direction of ice attack changes. They use a bloody jacking system which takes forever to change the heading and is very labor intensive plus prone to breaking down. THAT IS THE WORTHLESS ARCTIC DRILLSHIP FOR WINTER OPERATIONS IF THERE EVER WAS ONE.

tugsailor, I agree that the ice conditions are not an issue where and when Shell intends to drill off Alaska and what little ice there is can be dealt with the ice management vessels. However, things would be quite different if they wanted to extend the drilling season. If I recall correctly, Kulluk and the other Canadian Arctic rigs were originally built so that the drilling season could be started earlier and ended later than with conventional drillships. They were also used in ice without major issues, so Shell’s limited operational window is not due to technical limitations.

As for Stena IceMax, based on the hull form shown in this broschure the vessel is probably not intended for drilling in ice conditions where pack ice, ridges and large floes can come into contact with the drilling vessel. In such situation, the vertical shell results in very high ice loads that can be too much for the propulsion system. Also, ducted propellers are a big no-no unless you can afford losing thrust for a while due to clogging.

Ice is an issue as the Disco had to cut loose and run from some ice that came down over the drilling location. Even with ice management vessels.

[QUOTE=Kingrobby;147098]Ice is an issue as the Disco had to cut loose and run from some ice that came down over the drilling location. Even with ice management vessels.[/QUOTE]

I stand corrected, again…

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/sep/10/nation/la-na-nn-shell-ice-arctic-drilling-chukchi-20120910

[B]Ice threat halts Shell’s drilling in Arctic Ocean after one day[/B]

Only a day after Shell Alaska began drilling a landmark offshore oil well in the Arctic, the company was forced on Monday to pull off the well in the face of an approaching ice pack.

With the ice floe about 10 miles away, the Noble Discoverer drilling rig was disconnecting from its seafloor anchor Monday afternoon in the Chukchi Sea, about 70 miles from the northwest coast of Alaska.

Company ice trackers had been carefully monitoring ocean ice and, when the wind direction changed and the ice floe began moving closer, they advised that the rig shut down and disconnect from the well, Shell spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh told the Los Angeles Times.

Op de Weegh said that [U]the ice floe, 30 miles long and about 10 miles wide[/U], wasn’t an immediate threat but that engineers elected to halt operations as a precaution.

“The Arctic if anything is dynamic,” she said. “That’s why we have the capabilities we have to monitor sea ice, as well as the ability to safely alter our operations.”

She said it could take several days for the ice to move and allow Shell to resume drilling.

I wonder what was the thickness of the ice floe.

Anyway, ice or no ice at the Burger prospect, my personal opinion is that drilling in the Arctic should not be allowed with anything but ice-resistant rigs supported by capable ice class vessels. If we keep using rigs with marginal ice capability and except things go smoothly every time we have to disconnect and evacuate because someone has spotted ice in the horizon, sooner or later something will happen and after that no-one is going to drill in the western part of the Arctic. This does not mean that we have to build an overkill Arctic rig that could drill with ease above the North Pole. It can’t be that expensive to build something like Kulluk again, perhaps this time in the US. Isn’t “proven technology” what the American decision-makers love anyway? :wink:

edit: I’m not sure if you’re familiar with this design, but it fixes some of the problems Kulluk had in open water by having an “open” skirt and two separate operational drafts:

https://afdelingen.kiviniria.net/media-afdelingen/DOM100000166/Activiteiten_2012/arctic_battle/KIVI_NIRIA_-Arctic_Battle-8_March_2012-Design_of_Arctic_Mobile_Offshore_Drilling_Unit-Huisman-_Alexei_Bereznitski.pdf

One of the issues I can think of in offshore Alaska is that the 39-metre ice draft may be too much in the shallow regions. It’s also more expensive than building just the wok pan part, but then again it’s probably not much more expensive than a similarly-sized semisubmersible rig…

[QUOTE=Tups;147095]tugsailor, I agree that the ice conditions are not an issue where and when Shell intends to drill off Alaska and what little ice there is can be dealt with the ice management vessels. However, things would be quite different if they wanted to extend the drilling season. If I recall correctly, Kulluk and the other Canadian Arctic rigs were originally built so that the drilling season could be started earlier and ended later than with conventional drillships. They were also used in ice without major issues, so Shell’s limited operational window is not due to technical limitations.

As for Stena IceMax, based on the hull form shown in this broschure the vessel is probably not intended for drilling in ice conditions where pack ice, ridges and large floes can come into contact with the drilling vessel. In such situation, the vertical shell results in very high ice loads that can be too much for the propulsion system. Also, ducted propellers are a big no-no unless you can afford losing thrust for a while due to clogging.[/QUOTE]

Shell really does not need any ice class rigs, or rigs with even any ice capability, or any special winterization, to drill on the Burger Prospect during the summer. When Conoco Phillips was interested in drilling nearby, they were talking about using jackup rigs.

For the first phase, to drill during the summer to see whether there are any commercial quantities of oil, they could use just about any relatively new high spec rigs. If enough oil is found to warrant an extended drilling season, they will need to build some new bigger and better conical Kulluk type rigs. Kulluk drilled in the Canadian Arctic during heavy ice years in the 80’s. Thanks to global warming, its all just first year ice near Alaska now, that should be a lot easier to work in than it was for Kulluk in Canada during the 80’s.

I believe in truth in advertising. If Stena IceMax is not suitable to drill on the Berger Prospect during the summer, it should be renamed “TropicMax.”

The photos of Kulluk up on deck of the Cosco heavy lift ship did not show any significant hull damage. My impression is that the interior systems were destroyed by water intrusion while it was on the beach. Does anyone else think Shell should have rebuilt Kulluk?

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[QUOTE=Kingrobby;147098]Ice is an issue as the Disco had to cut loose and run from some ice that came down over the drilling location. Even with ice management vessels.[/QUOTE]

While it is certainly true that the Disco did in fact cut loose and run from a large flow of very thin ice in 2012, I do not believe that was actually necessary. I think it was more to show Greenpeace that they could do it, and would do it, out of an abundance of caution.

I think the main reason for scrapping the Kulluk was simply that it drifted to the beach, not because it was somehow damaged beyond repair when it was grounded. While I’m not familiar with the structural arrangement of the unit, based on the photographs it looks like the hull damage was probably limited to bottom plating and the immediate structures above it. Of course, with those material thicknesses (someone here said 3" thick plates) that’s a lot of steel anyway. Interior damage was of course extensive and the cost of outfitting might have been a contributing factor to the decision to sell the rig for scrap.

Still, I think it was primarily a PR decision.

Great photo showing Dunlap’s Saratoga pushing.

I think you are probably right that PR considerations probably drove the decision to scrap the world’s most proven ice capable rig.

Is it actually scrapped?? I heard it’s still just sitting in Singapore.

[QUOTE=Kingrobby;147106]Is it actually scrapped?? I heard it’s still just sitting in Singapore.[/QUOTE]

It’s no longer there.

http://www.captainsvoyage-forum.com/forum/windjammer-bar-maritime-interest/general-maritime-interrest-from-cruise-to-the-mercantile-marine-and-all-ships-between/1105-rigs-platforms-and-oil-fields?p=171245#post171245

Also, other sources have stated that Kulluk has been scrapped.

Kinda surprised the Russians didn’t snatch her up for their arctic drilling program.