crazygabeShell’s director of Alaskan Drilling and Stuff.

If Alaskans near the Beaufort Sea hear the tinny sounds of “Yakety Sax” for the next few days, there’s good reason: Shell is trying to drill. Here’s our recap of how it’s gone so far.

From the Anchorage Daily News:

The company resumed drilling in the Chukchi Sea on Sept. 23 after a two-week suspension due to encroaching sea ice, [Curtis Smith, spokesman for Shell Alaska,] said.

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But Shell still won’t be able to drill deep enough to reach oil this year. An oil spill containment dome, an essential piece of safety gear, was damaged during testing last month in a Bellingham shipyard. …

Shell is investigating what went wrong in the testing of the containment dome, designed to be lowered over an out-of-control well to funnel oil, natural gas and contaminated water back to the barge, the Arctic Challenger.

It doesn’t plan to release its findings to the public, Smith said.

Ha ha big shock. I guess a statement saying “it got clogged with cheeseburger grease, somehow?” wouldn’t really reassure people.

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Here is an interesting component to the drilling:

Shell had agreed to hold off drilling in the Beaufort until two villages, Kaktovik and Nuiqsut, concluded their whaling seasons. The Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission notified Shell on Wednesday that it could drill, Smith said. Kaktovik just landed its second whale of the fall hunt, and Nuiqsut earlier had success. A Kaktovik crew struck a third whale but lost it and village whaling captains haven’t decided whether to seek permission to try again, resident Annie Tikluk said.

So the solution to ending offshore drilling is to increase whale-killing. Alright. If that’s how it has to be.

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