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Here’s how Shell’s errant arctic oil rig made it to safety

The fate of Shell’s deep sea oil platform, the Kulluk, captured attention last week when it cut loose in choppy seas and ran aground on Kodiak Island in Alaska. Observers...

The fate of Shell’s deep sea oil platform, the Kulluk, captured attention last week when it cut loose in choppy seas and ran aground on Kodiak Island in Alaska.

Observers held their breath, waiting to hear if the rig had been damaged and was leaking oil. It wasn’t. That we know of, though critics contend the near-miss in rough arctic seas should raise concerns about drilling in the fragile, rugged arctic environment.

We also learned that the escapade was fueled by the profit motive. Shell was trying to move the rig in bad weather to get it out of the reach of Alaska’s tax collectors before Jan. 1, when they state would levy several million in taxes on the Kulluk. (See the Alaska Dispatch for more.)


(The Kulluk rides home, turn down your computer speakers the helicopter rotor noise is loud.)

Yesterday, though, the episode wound down as tow boats successfully hauled the Kulluk home to port in Seattle. The hulking platform will be checked for damage and get needed repairs.

 


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