Kulluk and life rafts: Arial survey of Kulluk and life rafts - U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Painter.The Shell Corporation oil drilling rig Kulluk remains grounded, pounded by rough seas. Salvage teams have landed on the vessel and carried out an initial examination and assessment. There are worries that release of contaminants may foul the sensitive coastline which includes the Kodiak Wildlife Refuge containing two endangered species, and a cultural and archeologically significant site - Refuge rock. Greenpeace alledges Shell’s 2013 Arctic drilling program is 'on the brink' after a series of technical problems and failures with equipment this year.
There are approximately 143,000 gallons of diesel and 12,000 gallons of hydraulic oil on board the Kulluk, an aging drill rig built in 1983. Weighing almost 28,000 tonnes, the rig had been due for scrapping before Shell bought it in 2005 and the company has since spent $292 million to upgrade the vessel.
It has already been revealed that Shell was moving the drilling rig from Alaska to Seattle, Washington to avoid about $6 million in property taxes that would be due on January 1st.