Monday, March 4, 2013

Noble Discoverer Placed Aboard Xiang Yun Kou in Resurrection Bay

On Sunday, the damaged, rusting hulk of the Shell drill rig Noble Discoverer was placed aboard the partially submerged heavy lift vessel, Xiang Yun Kou, in upper Resurrection Bay.  Story and excellent photographs for the Seward City News, by Carol Griswold:
Guided by powerful tugs, Shell Oil’s drilling rig, the Noble Discoverer, began its slow but steady journey from the Alaska Railroad Dock to the waiting semi-submerged transport ship around 6:30 am on Saturday morning. Calm seas helped make this delicate operation much easier.  
By early afternoon, the rig was temporarily secured in place, and the transport ship began to pump out the ballast water.  
By evening, the rig rode high and dry on the cargo deck, lights blazing.  
Over the next few days, welders, including graduates of the AVTEC welding program, will secure the rig to the ship for the month-long journey across the North Pacific Ocean to the repair facility in South Korea.
I do like that Shell is using people from the AVTEC school for the hard tie-down.  I'll be surprised if the journey takes an entire month, but it is possible.

Note that the Aiviq is now berthed in Seward, on the west side of the Alaska Railroad dock:

•  The Kulluk should be getting close to Dutch Harbor.

•  Sunday, the conservative Seattle Times published an editorial critical of Shell's 2012 Arctic drilling activities:

MOTHER Nature made the point the Obama administration chose to ignore two years ago as it was processing an application by Shell Oil to proceed with oil and gas development in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. 
The Arctic Ocean is a rough place to do business. 
Shell operations were pummeled in both locations last year, and last week the company called off plans for the 2013 drilling season. 
Oil rigs had trouble, and so did a new tug. Harsh weather, accidents and errors combined to send the Shell rigs to Asia for repairs. 
All of the early warnings were seemingly ignored during the permitting process, so high winds and seas, ice and limited visibility made the point. 
The Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico made the hazards and difficulties clear. Imagine spill response within truly harsh conditions. 
Respect the lessons learned.
•  Needless to say, some are miffed in the Seattle area, as the mismanagement of Shell's fleet evacuation from Alaska to Puget Sound resulted in the loss of tens of millions of dollars worth of repair and modification contract work in shipyards down there.

•  Within a week, we should see the issuance of the Department of Interior 60-day review of Shell's Arctic drilling plan.


Bill said...

Here are the tugs dragging the Kulluk to Dutch Harbor.

For chump change for a corporation as bis as Shell is they could make friends in the US by using US workers to refurbish their broken drill rigs. They are going to Korea carried on Chinese carriers. Wait for the slick ads promoting their new improved drilling program in 2014.

Anonymous said...

They are going to Asia because there is no shipyard in the US big enough to dry dock the Kulluk. Also, I don't know of any US owned company that has Heavy Lift ships.

With the 3 story main engine needing to be replaced on the Discoverer it would seem the logical choice would be to go to a shipyard that manufacturers the engine locally at the yard and is expert in installing it. As opposed to having it built then torn down and shipped to a US yard to be reinstalled by a yard that isn't an expert.

They have been hiring lots of local workers in Seward, Anchorage, and Barrow since they started this whole operation. Still using them now.

Philip Munger said...

"They are going to Asia because there is no shipyard in the US big enough to dry dock the Kulluk."

please see the picture I took of the Kulluk in drydock in Elliot Bay in 2011:

The dock is still there.

Anonymous said...

"please see the picture I took of the Kulluk in drydock in Elliot Bay in 2011: ... "

That is Kulluk in a 'normal dock'. The drydock (n°10) is the one next to it, on the left.

Philip Munger said...

@ 12:56 - I stand corrected. Vigor's widest Puget Sound dry dock is only 134 feet wide. I thought both the Kulluk and the SBX were in some sort of double-wide drydock bay there. Looking at the facility on Google earth just minutes ago, I see you are right.