Statement on Arctic Oil Rig Accident

January 3, 2013
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, members of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) called on the Department of the Interior and United States Coast Guard (USCG) to conduct a joint investigation into the recent grounding of a Shell Oil drilling rig operating in the Gulf of Alaska and related incidents.  The Kulluk, a 29-year-old rig containing an estimated 143,000 gallons of ultra-low sulfur diesel and 12,000 gallons of lubrication oil and hydraulic fluid, ran aground Monday night after breaking free from tugboats leading it to Seattle for maintenance.  USCG plane surveillance indicates that oil has yet to spill out of the rig. 

Late last year, Shell was given a green light by Interior to begin drilling in Beaufort and Chuckchi seas.  The Kulluk previously operated in the Beaufort Sea. 

SEEC Members released the following statement:

“The recent grounding of Shell’s Kulluk oil rig amplifies the risks of drilling in the Arctic.  This is the latest in a series of alarming blunders, including the near grounding of another of Shell’s Arctic drilling rigs, the 47-year-old Noble Discoverer, in Dutch Harbor and the failure of its blowout containment dome, the Arctic Challenger, in lake-like conditions.  SEEC Members believe these serious incidents warrant thorough investigation.”