Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Shell's Kulluk Response: Look How Great We Are!

Shell has a huge oil rig adrift near Kodiak Island, Alaska being battered by high winds and waves. (NOTE - this is not unusual weather for Alaska in the winter.)  But Shell's response is like being at the funeral and talking only about how nice the flowers look.

Here's a press release from Shell yesterday (Jan. 1, 2013)

1.  "We deeply appreciate the professional and effective response of the responders from the U.S. Coast Guard, Shell, Noble, Edison Chouest and many other organizations who worked together seamlessly at sea and under extreme weather conditions to control the vessel, rescue the crew on board, and prevent injury and environmental impact.
The gist of paragraph 1: We were successful!
  • "professional and effective response"
  • "worked together seamlessly"
  • "to control the vessel, rescue the crew on board, and prevent injury and environmental impact"
2.  "In the circumstances we faced over the last 4 days, we cannot underscore enough how significant it is to have weathered fierce winds and high seas with no more than two first aid cases."
The gist of paragraph 2:  We did great under terrible conditions
  • In terrible conditions we only had two "first aid cases"
Note:  in the press conferece they said there were three people injured.  Also note that the weather in winter in Alaskan waters is more likely to be terrible than not.  This is NOT unusual weather.  Author Brian Garfield, writing in 1969 about World War II in the Aleutians:
"The conditions were war conditions - war with the enemy, war with the perpetual enemies of weather, water, and terrain." [Thousand Mile War p. 106]
Back to the press release:
3.  "The Kulluk successfully completed its role in supporting our 2012 Alaska exploration program several weeks ago and was en route to winter harbor, through waters off the southern coast of Alaska, when this incident occurred.   We have already begun a review - working with our marine experts, partners and suppliers – of how this sequence of events, including the failure of multiple engines on the MV Aiviq (towing vessel) led to this incident.  We intend to use lessons from that review to strengthen our maritime fleet operations, globally.    
The gist of paragraph 3:  Kulluk was a success and this is merely a learning experience so we can be more successful. 
  • successfully completed its role
  • headed to winter harbor
  • incident occurred
  • Review has begun
    • with experts, partners, and suppliers
    • sequence of events -including multiple engine failures on towing vessel - led to this incident
  • Will use lessons from review to make our fleet stronger
                                      •  
4.  "The incident did not involve our drilling operations, nor does it involve any possibility of crude oil release.  Through our role in the Unified Incident Command, we quickly mobilized experts to respond to this situation.  And, we can confidently say that the Shell emergency response assets and contingences that were deployed over the last four days represent the best available in the world."
The gist of paragraph 4:  This wasn't about drilling and we've got the world's best working on this.  We're confident!
  • It wasn't our drilling operations
  • No chance of crude oil release
  • We quickly got the world's best experts
Could you tell from this that:
  • Their drilling rig Kulluk broke loose from its towing vessels and had run aground on rocks south of Kodiak Island?
  • That this was one more mishap in a series starting last year that delayed drilling for Shell?
  • That there's  roughly 143,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 12,000 gallons of "other petroleum products on this now crewless oil rig being battered by winds and waves?

Here's the Anchorage Daily News description.



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