Shell's Arctic Oil Exploration Operation Faces Multiple Investigations

"ANCHORAGE -- As response teams continued Tuesday to evaluate Royal Dutch Shell's once-grounded oil drilling rig, the Coast Guard, the Obama administration and U.S. Sen. Mark Begich all announced investigations or reviews taking a close look at Shell":

• Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced 'an expedited, high-level assessment' of Shell's 2012 offshore drilling program in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.

• The Coast Guard commander for Alaska has ordered a formal marine casualty investigation into the circumstances of the Dec. 31 grounding of the then-unmanned Kulluk during a pounding Gulf of Alaska storm just offshore Sitkalidak Island, south of Kodiak.

• Begich, in a letter to the national Coast Guard commandant, Adm. Robert Papp, and Shell Oil Co. president Marvin Odum, said he planned to hold an oversight hearing in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Commerce subcommittee on oceans, atmosphere, fisheries and Coast Guard.

The Kulluk, a heavy, round, Shell-owned drilling rig, was refloated Sunday night and towed Monday to Kiliuda Bay on the southeast side of Kodiak Island. It was pulled by the Shell-contracted Aiviq, the same ship that was towing it when troubles started Dec. 27 during the winter storm."

Lisa Demer reports for the Anchorage Daily News January 9, 2012.

SEE ALSO:

"Obama Administration To Review Shell’S Beleaguered Arctic Operations" (McClatchy)

"Interior Dept. Expedites Review of Arctic Drilling After Accidents" (New York Times)

"Drilling Plans in Rocky Waters as Shell Rig Towed To Harbor" (EnergyWire)

"U.S. Orders Arctic Drilling Assessment After Rig Mishap" (Washington Post)

"Problems Prompt Federal Review of Arctic Drilling Operations" (Los Angeles Times)

"Salazar, Coast Guard Announce Drill Vessel Reviews" (AP)

Source: Anchorage Daily News, 01/09/2013