The drillship Noble Discoverer commenced drilling at Shell’s Burger A prospect in the Chukchi Sea at 4:30 a.m. this morning.
“Today marks the culmination of Shell’s six-year effort to explore for potentially significant oil and gas reserves, which are believed to lie under Alaska’s outer continental shelf,” said Shell spokesman Curtis Smith in an email today announcing the start of the drilling. “In the days to come, drilling will continue in the Chukchi Sea, and we will prepare for drilling to commence in the Beaufort Sea. … We look forward to continued drilling progress throughout the next several weeks and to adding another chapter to Alaska’s esteemed oil and gas history. We’re proud to be offshore Alaska, and we’re extremely proud of the preparation we’ve put in place to do it right.”
Shell has permission from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement to drill the top section of the Burger well, pending the deployment of the company’s oil containment barge, the Arctic Challenger. The Arctic Challenger has been undergoing a refit for the containment system in Bellingham, Wash. Shell has said that it anticipates the barge undergoing seas trial shortly, in readiness for certification and deployment.
The Kulluk, Shell’s Arctic floating drilling platform, is currently in a holding position in the Beaufort Sea, waiting for the completion of the annual subsistence whale hunt in the region of Shell’s Beaufort Sea drill sites. After the end of the whale hunt Shell plans to use the Kulluk to drill in the company’s Beaufort Sea Sivulliq prospect.
See story in Sept. 16 issue, available online on Friday, Sept. 14 at 11 a.m. at www.PetroleumNews.com