Shell initiates Beaufort Sea Oil Exploration

Thursday, March 16, 2006
Shell is planning to begin its Beaufort Sea oil exploration this summer, a state official said.

The initial work will involve excavating "well cellars" from below the sea floor. The cellars, also known as glory holes, protect well equipment such as blowout preventers from ice scouring.

Shell plans to start excavations in August and work only during open-water seasons -- before the ice comes in, he said.

The company has acquired one drill rig, the Kullu, but Shell officials told him they will need a second drilling vessel as backup, Hutmacher said.

(Source: Anchorage Daily News –

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