The following statement was issued late Monday afternoon Alaska time by Shell spokesman Curtis Smith:
Shell Alaska Drilling Rigs Will Transit to Asia for Inspections, Repairs
Based on ongoing evaluations of the condition of the Kulluk it has been determined the rig, pending an approved tow plan, will first be moved to Dutch Harbor, Alaska and then dry towed to a shipyard in Asia with a suitable dry dock.
Additionally, Noble Drilling, in consultation with Shell, has made the decision to dry tow the Noble Discoverer from Seward, Alaska to a shipyard in Korea. The outcome of further inspections for both rigs will determine the shipyard schedule and timing of their return to service. Dry towing is a time-efficient way to get both rigs to suitable shipyards to begin necessary work that will allow us to better assess our options.
We have not made any final decision on 2013 drilling in Alaska. Mapping the next-steps for the Kulluk and the Noble Discoverer is a multifaceted operation and today's update is a result of those new plans being solidified.
In addition to the drilling rig assessments/repairs, a number of investigations and reviews are underway. It's too soon to know what the outcomes of those investigations will be. In the meantime, we are exploring a range of options for exploration work offshore Alaska in 2013. Shell remains committed to safely exploring for Alaska's offshore energy resources.
If you have any questions or would like more information, please don't hesitate to contact me.