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Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement

The Polar Pioneer, a drilling rig contracted by Shell for Chukchi Sea exploration in 2015, is transported across the Pacific on the heavy-lift vessel Blue Marlin. (Photo: Vincenzo Floramo / Greenpeace)

Sea ice could keep Shell away from the Arctic until mid July

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Even if Shell wins all federal permits to drill in the Chukchi Sea this summer, sea ice could block it from launching the work until late July.
The capping stack -- part of Shell's "Arctic Containment System" for a blown-out well -- is tested in waters near Washington state. Here, it is lifted by an A-frame before being lowered 150 feet into the water. (Photo: Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement)

Feds say Shell completed test for blown-out well response ahead of Arctic drilling

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The exercises, conducted Tuesday and Wednesday in waters near Washington state, focused on Shell’s capping stack, designed to sit atop a damaged well and choke off flowing oil and gas.
The Polar Pioneer, a drilling rig contracted by Shell for Chukchi Sea exploration in 2015, is transported across the Pacific on the heavy-lift vessel Blue Marlin. (Photo: Vincenzo Floramo / Greenpeace)

No “showstoppers” yet for Shell’s Arctic drilling plans

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An emergency containment system was being tested in waters near Washington state on Tuesday, while those drilling permit reviews are under way.
A drilling rig under contract to Shell arrives in Port Angeles, Washington en route to Alaska's Chukchi Sea, where Shell hopes to drill this summer. (Daniella Beccaria/seattlepi.com via AP, File) MAGS OUT; NO SALES; SEATTLE TIMES OUT; TV OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT

Environmentalists say Arctic drilling report goes too easy on oil industry

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Because oil industry representatives played the lead role shaping a sweeping report on Arctic drilling, critics say regulators should take its recommendations with a grain of salt.
A drilling rig under contract to Shell arrives in Port Angeles, Washington en route to Alaska's Chukchi Sea, where Shell hopes to drill this summer. (Daniella Beccaria/seattlepi.com via AP, File) MAGS OUT; NO SALES; SEATTLE TIMES OUT; TV OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT

Court rules against environmentalists in endorsing feds’ handling of Arctic spill response plans

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Environmentalists said the ruling demonstrates federal policies need an update to ensure oil spill response plans get tougher scrutiny.
A drilling rig under contract to Shell arrives in Port Angeles, Washington en route to Alaska's Chukchi Sea, where Shell hopes to drill this summer. (Daniella Beccaria/seattlepi.com via AP, File) MAGS OUT; NO SALES; SEATTLE TIMES OUT; TV OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT

Oil industry takes aim at proposed Arctic drilling mandates

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The proposed requirements would unnecessarily shorten an already brief window for exploratory drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas while dramatically boosting the costs of those operations, dissuading companies from drilling in the region, industry representatives said in formal comments filed with the government.
U.S. Coast Guard image showing the Royal Dutch Shell drilling rig Kulluk aground off a small island near Kodiak Island on Jan. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard)

Feds rap Shell for poor planning in botched tow of 2012 Arctic drilling rig

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The NTSB report comes at a pivotal time for Shell, which has asked federal regulators for permission to resume exploratory oil drilling in the Chukchi Sea as soon as July.
Brian Salerno, director of the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement   at the Offshore Technology Conference at the NRG Center Thursday, May 7, 2015.  Gary Coronado / Houston Chronicle )

OTC: Offshore drilling regulators want industry input on ‘next steps’ for safety management programs

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The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement will hold a workshop on the issue on July 29 in Houston aimed at getting ideas for how to strengthen the safety and environmental management systems required of companies operating offshore.
Oceaneering International displays its remotely operated underwater vehicle at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston on Monday. Oceaneering's ROVs took part in repairing damage at a blown-out well during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill five years ago.

OTC: Robots and automation offshore create new safety and cyber risks

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Increasing computerization and automation offshore open up the possibility of dangerous disruptions, driven by errant software updates and plugged-in flash drives. One incident has already taken place.
OTC-Models

OTC: Feds could soon take a closer look at who is, and who isn’t, fit to operate offshore

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The nation’s offshore drilling overseers are considering adopting a page out of Norway and Brazil’s playbooks — with a potential analysis of oil and gas firms’ “fitness to operate” on coastal waters.