Tough timing for Shell on this announcement from the National Transportation Safety Board: The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the grounding of the mobile offshore drilling unit Kulluk was Shell’s inadequate assessment of the risk for its planned tow of the Kulluk, resulting in implementation of a tow plan insufficient to mitigate that… Keep reading →


After a handful of false starts and accidents, Shell’s multi-billion dollar bet on offshore Alaskan oil and gas  exploration was put on hold for 2014. And now a Coast Guard report claims the oil major prioritized financial interests over safety with its fateful decision to tow a drilling rig to Seattle for repairs on New Year’s… Keep reading →


Almost every aspect of energy – sources, financing, scalability and policy – tends to spark spirited debate among stakeholders across the sector. And the United States Association for Energy Economics seeks to bridge the gap between academics, industry professionals, and the government officials and regulators that set the tone for energy investment. Breaking Energy spoke… Keep reading →

Gulf Oil Spill Begins To Reach Land As BP Struggles To Contain Leak

North America has seen its share of oil spills of late, including an ExxonMobil pipeline leak in Arkansas  and a Chevron diesel pipeline leak in Utah, both within the first few months of the year. Canadian Pacific Railway is keeping the trend going. A Canadian Pacific-operated train carrying crude oil from Saskatchewan derailed on Tuesday,… Keep reading →

The multi-million dollar oil drilling rig named Kulluk that ran aground offshore Alaska on New Year’s Eve has been deemed stable enough to tow out of Kiliuda Bay to Dutch Harbor. The Kulluk will be brought to a purpose-built dock from which it can be safely prepared for “dry-tow transit to Asia” for repairs.

“The completion of the damage assessment revealed that the inner hull of the Kulluk was not breached and that all fuel tanks remain intact. The outer hull did receive damage as expected with a vessel being aground during adverse weather. In addition, the Kulluk encountered water damage to its superstructure which resulted in damage to technical equipment and a breach of windows and hatches. Over the past few weeks, all damaged windows and hatches on the Kulluk’s main deck have been secured, and where necessary, temporary steel structures have been put in place to ensure that the vessel is weather tight and prepared for the tow,” according to an update issued by the Unified Command in charge of the operation. Keep reading →

Shell spent billions of dollars and significant political capital to obtain the licenses and approvals required to explore for oil and gas off the coast of Alaska.

The company’s problems in the region were compounded when a drilling rig ran aground in rough seas on December 31st as it was being towed from Alaska to the port of Seattle, Washington for scheduled offseason maintenance – the rig was not drilling at the time. Although there does not appear to have been a petroleum release, the risks associated with operating in the Arctic have been highlighted by the incident. Keep reading →