Rumor has it Shell has purchased two vessels for drilling offshore Alaska. One is a drilling barge, the Kulluk, formerly owned by Seatankers Management, and the other a drill ship which is currently being refurbished in Singapore.
The Kulluk, which was used by ARCO Alaska to drill its Hammerhead and Wild Weasel wells, has been sitting unused at Inuvik in the Northwest Territories. It will be refurbished after it has been hauled to Alaska (in the next few months).
The company will need two vessels to drill their offshore prospects in Alaska to meet government oil spill contingency requirements because most of Shell’s leases are in deeper water outside the barrier islands, so an ice island or gravel island would not work. Instead two drilling vessels can support one another in case of an oil spill.
Petroleum News has confirmed the purchase of the Kulluk from a source at Seatankers, but Shell is not yet ready to talk about either vessel.
In an interview today, Shell’s Alaska Exploration Manager Chandler Wilhelm, told Petroleum News the company is in the process of making plans for its upcoming drilling campaign, but is not ready to talk about it because Shell officials are still in the process of meeting with key stakeholders.
“We have some plans to execute a drilling plan on our leasehold but doing so … involves more discussions with some important stakeholders,” Wilhelm said.
Shell officials are on the North Slope this week.
Note: See full story in the March 5 edition of Petroleum News, which will be available online this coming Friday, March 3.