Ice still delaying Shell Arctic offshore drilling
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Moving ice may keep a Royal Dutch Shell petroleum drill ship away from a Chukchi Sea prospect for several days, a Shell Alaska spokesman said Tuesday.
Curtis Smith said at midday that a massive ice pack heading toward the Burger Prospect had slowed from 0.5 knots to 0.2 knots — about 1/4 of a mile per hour — and remained 10 to 12 hours away.
“Depending on conditions, it could be a few or, potentially, several days before it’s safe enough to resume drilling,” he said in an email response to questions.
The prospect is 70 miles off the coast. The Noble Discoverer drill ship has moved 30 miles south and will remain there until the ice — 30 miles long, 12 miles wide and up to 82 feet thick — has passed and is unlikely to change course and return.
NSIDC’s super-sensitive sensors apparently can’t detect 82 foot thick ice in the Chukchi sea.