I wasn’t always a traveler. In fact, I preferred to stay home in the icy oasis of the Arctic surrounded by thick ice and a healthy food supply. Unfortunately, I’ve had to adopt the life of a nomad, wandering outside my element searching for food and a place cold enough to call home. Continue reading →
Greenpeace activists scale Statoil drilling rig shortly before the company announces its canceling its drilling plans this year
This morning two polar bears scaled Norwegian oil company Statoil’s rig bound for the world’s northernmost drilling sites in the Arctic this summer. Just a few hours later Statoil announced that their Arctic drilling will not take place this year. ConocoPhillips announced today that they too will be cancelling 2014 Arctic drilling plans north of Alaska due to “regulatory irregularities”.
If there’s ever been a more appropriate day to say you’re sorry with a bouquet of roses, it’s today. Stores are near sold out of chocolate hearts, red roses and teddy bears this time of year, and we’re hearing a particularly interesting Valentine’s Day message from everyone’s favorite oil company. Continue reading →
The Kulluk, Shell’s oil drilling rig, could not get far enough away from us. Greenpeace’s visuals director and myself traveled 120 miles round trip to witness Shell’s attempt to fix the latest in its long list of mishaps during its Arctic-drilling campaign. The rig originally ran aground New Year’s Eve off the coast of Alaska while the oil company was towing it south during hurricane-like conditions. Continue reading →
Mishap. Incident. Accident. Calamity. Honestly, we’re running out of words to describe what Shell has done these past six months.
If you do a quick search for news articles involving Shell’s Kulluk drill rig, you will find a long, less-than-flattering list of headlines. Since Shell began its voyage north towards the Chukchi Sea last summer, they have made numerous mistakes that demonstrate they are not Arctic ready. Continue reading →
Looking at news tapes and pictures of Shell’s beached rig, the Kulluk, is an amazing sight. The Kulluk is now off the beach and in the middle of prime tanner crab grounds in Kiliuda Bay on Kodiak Island. Floating in the middle of this calm bay surrounded by snow covered mountains, it looks innocent enough. But, we have since known better.
Royal Dutch Shell is telling the world that they have the technology and ability to drill for oil in the frozen and treacherous Arctic Ocean, and do it well. Unfortunately the grounding of the Kulluk and the grounding of the Noble Discoverer earlier last year are a stark reminder that drilling in the Arctic is wrought with extreme dangers. Continue reading →
We arrived on Kodiak Island today, near the spot where Shell’s drilling rig, the Kulluk, ran aground several days ago. We were able to charter a small airplane to take us to survey the rig at its current resting place in Kiliuda Bay where it has been towed for assessment and repairs. During our transit from Kodiak to the rig we were treated to views of the stunning, pristine environment of Kodiak Island, saw bald eagles and harbor seals, and had a chance to chat with our local pilot who described the history of the area going back more than 7500 years.
As we came over the last set of ridges leading to Kiliuda Bay the rig came into view. Seen from above, the entire fleet (the Kulluk and its tugs, tenders and coastguard escort) is dwarfed by the majesty of this breathtaking landscape. Unfortunately, it is this very majesty, remoteness and power that make the pursuit of offshore drilling in the Arctic so irresponsible. The series of accidents that have accompanied Shell’s first season drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas have done nothing but reinforce the notion that conditions even in Southern Alaska have proved too rough to allow safe operation let alone effective clean up were a spill to occur. Continue reading →
In another example of why drilling for oil in the Arctic is such a monumentally bad idea, Shell’s drilling rig, the Kulluk, has run aground off the island of Sitkalidak, near Kodiak in Alaska.
The ancient rig was being towed back to harbor after a spectacularly unsuccessful summer drilling season when it ran into serious trouble and hit the shore.
Last Thursday the Kulluk was being towed from the Arctic by Shell’s brand new $200 million tug the Aiviq when it hit heavy weather that caused the 400 foot towing line to break and the rig to drift free. Continue reading →
So we all know the Arctic is cold and white and in danger from exploitation by oil companies including Shell Oil, right? Not only is the critical ecosystem in dire need of our protection, it also has an endlessly interesting “About Me” section. Here’s what we think are the coolest things about the Arctic we found pretty surprising.