Shell 'very sorry' for Kulluk incident

Jan. 8, 2013 at 9:35 AM
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JUNEAU, Alaska, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- It's too early to determine what effects the grounding of drill ship Kulluk will have on an Alaskan exploration campaign, a Shell official said.

The Kulluk is anchored safely in Kiliuda Bay, Alaska, after getting a tow from the site of last week's grounding. It broke free while being towed to Seattle in late December and settled near Sitkalidak Island off the southwestern coast of Alaska. No oil release was associated with the incident and there were no reports of injuries.

Shell Oil Co. President Marvin Odum said the company was "very sorry" for the incident considering the "significant planning" meant to ensure such incidents don't occur.

"Thanks to the professionalism, dedication and skill of all those involved in the recovery effort, I'm pleased to say those objectives have been met with no significant injuries and no environmental impact," he said in a statement.

Kulluk started its journey to a harbor for inspection this week. Shell said salvage teams were able to ensure the vessel was in a secure state.

Shell's campaign in the arctic waters off the northern coast of Alaska last year was complicated by extreme weather conditions and equipment issues. U.S. lawmakers have called for a review of Shell's operations given the latest setback.

"At this stage, it's too early to gauge any impact on our ongoing exploration plans but with the Kulluk now safely recovered, we'll carry out a detailed assessment of the vessel to understand what those impacts might be," Odum said.

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