Feds rap Shell for poor planning in botched tow of 2012 Arctic drilling rig Kulluk

and another report on the grounding, this time from the NSTB: http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Pages/MAB1510.aspx

Same conclusion as the USCG one. Not the best timing as they’re prepping for their new Alaska adventure.

[B]Feds rap Shell for poor planning in botched tow of 2012 Arctic drilling rig[/B]

Fuelfix - Posted on May 28, 2015 | By Jennifer A. Dlouhy

WASHINGTON — The National Transportation Safety Board on Thursday blamed the grounding of Shell’s Kulluk drilling rig on the company’s failure to adequately assess the risks of towing the vessel across predictably stormy Alaska seas in 2012.

The independent federal agency’s findings, released Thursday, represent the third major government report on what went wrong when Shell Oil Co. and its contractors tried towing the Kulluk across Gulf of Alaska waters in December 2012 — only to have the rig run aground on Sitkalidak Island following a failed five-day fight to get control of it.

“No single error or mechanical failure led to this accident,” the NTSB said. “Rather, shortcomings in the design of a plan with an insufficient margin of safety allowed this accident to take place. The plan was created to move the (mobile offshore drilling unit) at a time of year with a known likelihood of severe weather conditions for reasons unrelated to operational safety.”

The NTSB report comes at a pivotal time for Shell, which has asked federal regulators for permission to resume exploratory oil drilling in the Chukchi Sea as soon as July.

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has already approved Shell’s broad plans to bore up to six wells in those Arctic waters during ice-free drilling seasons this summer and next. But the company is waiting on a handful of other authorizations, including drilling permits from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, before it can launch the work.

The botched Kulluk tow job came months after Shell had finished drilling the top portions of one well each in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, when the company began moving the non-propelled drilling rig from Dutch Harbor, Alaska to a Seattle shipyard.

Shell contractor Edison Chouest began towing the Kulluk with its anchor handling vessel, the Aiviq on Dec. 21, 2012. But six days later, when the vessels ran into a series of storms near Kodiak Island, the tow line broke and on Dec. 28, 2012, Aiviq’s four engines failed. The Coast Guard tried but failed to connect a new tow line to the Kulluk, evacuated most of the Kulluk’s crew and delivered spare parts to the Aiviq, allowing partial engine power to be restored on the ship.

Although towlines were briefly reconnected between the Kulluk and the Aiviq as well as another tugboat, the Alert, on Dec. 31, once the connection to the Aiviq failed, officials instructed the struggling Alert to release its line for safety reasons.

That sealed the Kulluk’s fate.

Roughly a half hour later, at 8:48 p.m. on Dec. 31, the rig plowed into the rocky seabed on Alaska’s uninhabited Sitkalidak Island.

A Coast Guard probe, completed last year, blasted Shell and its contractors for deciding to tow the drilling rig across the “notoriously treacherous” Gulf of Alaska, asserting that financial considerations — including a potential multi-million dollar tax bill from the state of Alaska — played a role in the timing.

A separate Interior Department analysis also faulted Shell’s oversight of contractors, saying the company appeared to be focused “on compliance with prescriptive safety and environmental regulations . . . rather than on a holistic approach to managing and monitoring risks.”

Shell’s executive vice president for the Arctic, Ann Pickard, has stressed the company has radically improved its approach to overseeing contractors involved in its Alaska operations, with daily phone calls to share lessons learned among them, a detailed, down-to-the-minute operations plan outlining planned vessel movements and more Shell managers overseeing individual contractors.

Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said the company was reviewing the National Transportation Safety Board report.

“We have already implemented lessons learned from our 2012 season and have engaged extensively with the regulators,” Smith said. “As we prepare for a 2015 exploration season, we will continue to test and prepare our personnel, assets and contingency plans against the high bar stakeholders and regulators expect of an Arctic operator.”

http://fuelfix.com/blog/2015/05/28/feds-rap-shell-for-poor-planning-in-botched-tow-of-2012-arctic-drilling-rig/#8260101=0

and at the exact same moment Shell put out this utterly ridiculous and self serving bit of mutual admiration diarrhea about what a gloriously wonderful company ECO is. The incestual relationship between all these companies is enough to make any person with a working brain cringe in sheer disbelief at how tied they all are in their ways of operating where no one is ever held to account for major lapses in professional conduct. The offshore industry is a filthy cesspool!

ECO’s incredible blunder of hubris cost Shell many hundreds of millions of dollars but they are true heroes deserving of the highest praise imaginable.

[QUOTE=c.captain;163053]and at the exact same moment Shell put out this utterly ridiculous and self serving bit of mutual admiration diarrhea about what a gloriously wonderful company ECO is. The incestual relationship between all these companies is enough to make any person with a working brain cringe in sheer disbelief at how tied they all are in their ways of operating where no one is ever held to account for major lapses in professional conduct. The offshore industry is a filthy cesspool!

ECO’s incredible blunder of hubris cost Shell many hundreds of millions of dollars but they are true heroes deserving of the highest praise imaginable.[/QUOTE]

That’s a Shell webpage?!

The NTSB report did say that it was the unified command that directed the tow to Marmot Bay not anyone on scene. The Coast Guard report didn’t mention that. The master of the Aiviq sent a message saying he doubted the tow could stand the pressure.

Also the NTSB report dumps the blame squarely on Shell for poor planning. The Coast Guard investigation focused a lot more on the Aiviq.

This paragraph is the justification.

The series of failures that led to this accident began when Shell failed to fully address the risks associated with a late December tow in Alaskan waters, and ended with the grounding of the Kulluk. Although multiple parties were involved in the review and approval of the tow plan, the ultimate decision to approve and implement the tow was Shell’s. The dynamics of a single entity approving a go/no-go decision in the face of risks, with multiple parties involved, have been addressed in studies of previous catastrophic events.8 This research demonstrates that, even with formal review processes involving multiple entities, the ability of parties involved in a decision to articulate and draw attention to risks is limited when a single entity bears ultimate decision-making responsibility and at the same time favors a particular outcome of the decision. For this reason, Shell, as the organization responsible for designing, approving, and implementing the tow plan, is considered to be ultimately responsible for this accident.

NTSB does acknowledge that the master of the Aiviq is legally responsible for the tow however unlike the CG the NTSB is looking for causes not fault or legal responsibility

[QUOTE=Drill Bill;163059]That’s a Shell webpage?![/QUOTE]

That was sent to me by another forum member who smelled an immense pile of dung and wanted it to be shared here

[QUOTE=Kennebec Captain;163062]NTSB does acknowledge that the master of the Aiviq is legally responsible for the tow however unlike the CG the NTSB is looking for causes not fault or legal responsibility[/QUOTE]

literally EVERY party to the KULLUK fiasco can be held to blame here for their individual roles they played. I am sure that because Shell signed off on the tow plan is how ECO got out of the debacle without having the SHIT sued out of them even though ECO’s standard of professional diligence was criminally inadequate considering the risks of the job. For Shell to sue ECO would involve a very nasty public battle in a court where all of the bedroom buggerism between the parties would be brought out into the light of day and that is the absolute last thing that a massive company like Shell would ever want so easier to declare ECO the best and safest company on the entire planet and continue business as usual. One reason I have turned my back on an utterly corrupt business where “safety” means no one got a booboo for two years even as massive systemic failures in true safe practices are not seen and never spoken of.

[QUOTE=c.captain;163064]literally EVERY party to the KULLUK fiasco can be held to blame here for their individual roles they played. I am sure that because Shell signed off on the tow plan is how ECO got out of the debacle without having the SHIT sued out of them even though ECO’s standard of professional diligence was criminally inadequate considering the risks of the job. For Shell to sue ECO would involve a very nasty public battle in a court where all of the bedroom buggerism between the parties would be brought out into the light of day and that is the absolute last thing that a massive company like Shell would ever want so easier to declare ECO the best and safest company on the entire planet and continue business as usual. One reason I have turned my back on an utterly corrupt business where “safety” means no one got a booboo for two years even as massive systemic failures in true safe practices are not seen and never spoken of.[/QUOTE]

Don’t know much about about ECO and Shell. I was refering to the CG intrest the Aiviq illegal watch schedule and failure to report the problems with the fuel vents. THe NTSB investigation evidenlty didn’t find that those problems were as a direct cause as was Shell’s tow plan.

In an incident like this lots of latent problems are going to be uncovered. For example the CG Cutter got a line in the screw, the Alert fuel tanks had sediment that got stirred up in 40+ foot sea forced them to reduce power. All vessels have problems like this. The sediment in the Alerts tanks was someone’s fault but that doesn’t mean it was a significant factor in the incident. Obviously the Aiviq’s problems were far more serious then the Alert’s but according to the NTSB those problems were lesser factors then Shell’s risk assessment and poor planning.

[QUOTE=c.captain;163064]literally EVERY party to the KULLUK fiasco can be held to blame here for their individual roles they played. I am sure that because Shell signed off on the tow plan is how ECO got out of the debacle without having the SHIT sued out of them even though ECO’s standard of professional diligence was criminally inadequate considering the risks of the job. For Shell to sue ECO would involve a very nasty public battle in a court where all of the bedroom buggerism between the parties would be brought out into the light of day and that is the absolute last thing that a massive company like Shell would ever want so easier to declare ECO the best and safest company on the entire planet and continue business as usual. One reason I have turned my back on an utterly corrupt business where “safety” means no one got a booboo for two years even as massive systemic failures in true safe practices are not seen and never spoken of.[/QUOTE]

There is some blame to be placed on the lack of regulatory oversight. Each step along the way some agency, BSEE, BOERME USCG etc., charged with looking out for the welfare of the citizens of Alaska and the citizens of the USA whose land Shell wanted to drill in either said, “not my job” or “looks good to me”. The licensed people who were making really lousy decisions were not held accountable either, so much for all the responsibility of holding a USCG license; apparently If you work for the right folks you are bullet proof. If any of the licensed officers were disciplined for incompetence I have not heard of it.
These same regulatory agencies have agreed to let the same crowd go give it another go and why not? So they bollocked up the first time, embarrassed the entire industry,nothing happened, no one went to jail, maybe they’ll get it right this time.

Sir I assure you that Goal Zero is no laughing matter. It is the code that every OMSA member lives by.

[QUOTE=Jeaux Bawss;163070]Sir I assure you that Goal Zero is no laughing matter. It is the code that every OMSA member lives by.[/QUOTE]

Your assurance appeases my latent skepticism totally…I sleep easy tonight knowing that there is no laughing going on at the headquarters of OMSA