January 8, 2013, Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell issued the following statement regarding the drill rig Kulluk’s safe arrival at Kiliuda Bay:
“We appreciate those who worked diligently, across multiple agencies, to ensure the Kulluk’s safe arrival at Kiliuda Bay. The temporary grounding of the Kulluk was unfortunate, and we commend all who strove to ensure that people and the environment remained safe during the response effort.
“Some anti-drilling organizations are using this transportation mishap to demand an immediate halt to offshore drilling. We disagree. Many wells have been safely drilled in the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf, and the development of offshore oil production is a critical part of our energy future. We believe it is strongly in the state’s and the nation’s interest that we continue to responsibly explore the vast hydrocarbons known to be available in the shallow waters of the Arctic OCS.”
The Kulluk was driven aground by violent weather on the southeast shoreline of nearby Sitkalidak Island on December 31, 2012, while under tow from Alaska to Seattle, Washington State.
Commenting on the incident, Marvin Odum, President, Shell Oil Company, said: “We undertake significant planning and preparation in an effort to ensure these types of incidents do not occur. We’re very sorry it did. Since the grounding, Shell has worked with all parties in the Unified Command structure to ensure a safe outcome and to protect the maritime environment in the vicinity of the grounded vessel. Thanks to the professionalism, dedication, and skill of all those involved in the recovery effort, I’m pleased to say those objectives have been met with no significant injuries and no environmental impact.
“At this stage, it’s too early to gauge any impact on our ongoing exploration plans, but with the Kulluk now safely recovered, we’ll carry out a detailed assessment of the vessel to understand what those impacts might be. In the meantime, we will participate in the US Coast Guard’s investigation into the causes of this incident and will implement lessons learned.”