Sunday, January 06, 2013

Shell Has a Plan, But It's Not Available


At Saturday afternoon’s news briefing, Richard Mauer of the Anchorage Daily News asked Shell’s Alaska Operations Manager whether a copy of the Shell’s plan for the recovery of the Kulluk was available.  Sean Churchfield has been using phrases like "the plans are dynamic" and “subject to operational constraints” to explain why a plan wouldn’t be made available. 

I suspect others are thinking what I was thinking:  Do they really have a plan?  Then I remembered that somewhere on my computer I had a copy of their Ice Management Plan.  So I pulled it up.

Shell’s definition of a plan is probably a lot different from the everyday notion of a plan.  Most of us think of a plan as a series of steps that need to be taken to achieve a goal.

But, if the Ice Management Plan (IMP) is what Shell means by a plan, then their concept is not quite what most of us think of as a plan.  Here's one of the more concrete parts of that plan:


Shell Ice Management Plan Roles and Responsibilities Charts

This is only part of the IMP, but it was the part that actually said something somewhat concrete.  A lot of it is just description of their vessels and their 'philosophy' and such things that use up space but don't really give you anything you can get hold of or could hold them to. And there's also the COCP - (Critical Operations and Curtailment Plan).  I did a couple of posts on these plans last September.  So if you want to know what Shell means by a plan here are two posts that go into some detail about them:

As Shell Is About to Drill, What Do We Know About Arctic Sea Ice? 

Started with some UAF videos on Sea Ice Research that took me to Shell's Plans and went into some detail on the COCP and the IMP.

Become An Arctic Oil Expert in Just Ten Minutes a Day

More in depth on the IMP.  




What are some of the reasons they wouldn’t want to show their plan?

There isn’t anything written down that most people would recognize as a plan.
There is a plan but it’s pretty sketchy.
They don’t want to show anything that might expose them to any legal liability.

Any of those and all of those are good possibilities.  I’m guessing the last one plays a significant role in their decision not to share their plans.  Overall, the three news briefings I’ve heard (one on tape, one in person, and one by phone)  might be better described as damage control public relations.  Go out there and deal with the media, because you have to, but say as little as you can get away with.  And what you say should focus on how well the recovery is going.

All this leads me to start pondering what actually does the public need to know?  Let me think about that for a while and get back to you.


This is a crazy new world.  We landed in Seattle.  We ate some lunch and then I reluctantly plugged in the computer and checked the email only to find out there was a Kulluk news conference going on that very minute and I could call in.

So there at the airport I listened in.  Having been in the room Thursday made it a little easier to figure out who was talking. 

We're in LA now visiting my mom. 

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