Damaged AK floating drill rig to be sent to Asia

The conical drilling unit Kulluk sits grounded 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2012. The Kulluk grounded after many efforts by tug vessel crews and Coast Guard crews to move the vessel to safe harbor during a winter storm. PETTY OFFICER 2ND CLASS ZACHARY PAINTER — U.S. Coast Guard

The conical drilling unit Kulluk sits grounded 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2012. The Kulluk grounded after many efforts by tug vessel crews and Coast Guard crews to move the vessel to safe harbor during a winter storm. PETTY OFFICER 2ND CLASS ZACHARY PAINTER — U.S. Coast Guard

A Shell Alaska spokesman says a damaged floating drill rig and a drill ship will be “dry towed” to shipyards in Asia for assessments and repairs.

Dry towing typically involves loading such cargo on even larger vessels for transport.

Spokesman Curtis Smith announced the plan Monday for the two Royal Dutch Shell PLC vessels that operated in the Arctic last summer off Alaska’s northern coast.

Once an approved tow plan is developed, Smith says the drill rig Kulluk will be moved to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, then sent to an unspecified shipyard in Asia. The Kulluk grounded on New Year’s Eve near Kodiak Island as it was being towed to Seattle for maintenance and broke free in a storm. It was refloated and taken to a sheltered harbor.

The spokesman says Noble Drilling consulted with Shell and decided to send the drill ship Noble Discoverer from Seward, Alaska, to a shipyard in Korea. The Coast Guard found safety problems with the Noble Discoverer.

Smith says Shell has not made any final decision on 2013 drilling in Alaska. The U.S. Interior Department is assessing the 2012 Arctic offshore drilling season.

 

 

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