November 17, 2011 --- Vol. 17, No. 99November 2011

Groups appeal new Chukchi Sea lease sale SEIS

In a continuing appeal against the legal validity of the Department of the Interior’s 2008 Chukchi Sea lease sale, the Native Village of Point Hope, the Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope and 12 environmental organizations have complained to the U.S. District Court in Alaska that a new supplementary environmental impact statement for the lease sale does not meet the requirements of the National Environmental Protection Act. The plaintiffs in the appeal want the court to declare invalid a recent Bureau of Ocean Energy Management record of decision upholding the sale and the plaintiffs have asked the court to re-instate a ban on lease related activities in the Chukchi Sea.

Shell wants to drill in 2012 in leases that it purchased in the lease sale and yesterday BOEM published the company’s Chukchi Sea exploration plan for public comment.

The groups appealing the lease sale say that a new supplementary environmental impact statement supporting the record of decision has not adequately dealt with issues concerning missing environmental information, and that the SEIS also needs to evaluate the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions from the future burning of Chukchi Sea oil and gas.

—Alan Bailey

Spartan 151 heading for Port Graham for winter mooring

Escopeta Oil Co., which recently changed its name to Furie Operating Alaska, expects to begin moving the Spartan 151 jack-up to Port Graham on the southern Kenai Peninsula in the next couple of days, Furie strategic officer Steve Sutherlin told Petroleum News Nov. 17.

“It looks like our tugs braved 20-foot seas and gale force winds in the storm of the century to get from Seattle to Cook Inlet,” Sutherlin said. “They should be arriving Friday.”

The Foss tugs waited for an opening to sail across the Gulf of Alaska, he said.

“They sailed within the performance specs of the tugs, but it was a very challenging trip.”

The hands on the Spartan 151 jack-up have “50 miles an hour winds and 12 degree temps on the rig today, but they have the rig buttoned up and ready to move. They’re anxious to get out of the weather. … We’re really proud of the way our guys have performed,” Sutherlin said, simultaneously praising Foss and Crowley, which is “providing the Vigilant to help out, so we only had to bring two tugs from outside Alaska.”

—Kay Cashman

See full stories in Nov. 20 issue, available online at 11 a.m., Friday, Nov. 18 at

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