Shell’s Arctic drilling plans have hit yet another obstacle as the Greenpeace activists have suspended themselves from St. Johns Bridge in Portland, Oregon to block Shell’s vessel from leaving port for Alaskan waters.
According to Greenpeace, the climbers have enough supplies to last several days, and are prepared to stay in Shell’s way as long as possible.
The Greenpeace explained that its climbers have put themselves between Shell and the Arctic, blocking the Fennica—a Shell vessel carrying a crucial piece of drilling equipment—as it attempts to leave Portland, Oregon.
The Fennica is an icebreaker which will support Shell’s drilling operations in the Chukchi Sea offshore Alaska. The vessel suffered a damage to the hull weeks after leaving for the drilling site after which it had to be moved to Oregon for repairs.
To remind, Shell recently received conditional approval from the BSEE of two Applications for Permits to Drill (APD) to conduct limited exploratory drilling activities in the Chukchi Sea offshore Alaska. Specifically, the APDs limit Shell to drilling only the top sections of wells and prohibit Shell from drilling into oil-bearing zones.
Shell is currently not permitted to drill into oil-bearing zones because, to do so, BSEE requires that a capping stack be on hand and deployable within 24 hours. A capping stack is a critical piece of emergency response equipment designed to shut in a well in the unlikely event of a loss of well control and Shell’s capping stack is staged on the vessel M/V Fennica.
BSEE recently said that, if and when the M/V Fennica is capable of being deployed in the Chukchi Sea and Shell is able to satisfy the capping stack requirement, the company may submit an Application for Permit to Modify the APDs and request to have the restriction reconsidered.
Offshore Energy Today Staff