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Suzanna Caldwell

Royal Dutch Shell’s troubled drill rig Kulluk found its way back into deeper waters Sunday night, after nearly a week stranded in shallow waters off of Sitkalidak Island in the Gulf of Alaska. By Monday morning, the circular, 266-foot-diameter rig had been towed 30 miles north to the relative shelter of Kiliuda Bay, on the east side of Kodiak Island.

On Monday afternoon, the Kulluk dropped anchor in 115 feet of water, solidifying itself in its new home, at least for a little while. Now, officials hope to evaluate any damage suffered by the unit during its time in the rocky shallows of Sitkalidak...

Ben Anderson,Suzanna Caldwell

After days of stalled attempts and little movement, plans for getting the grounded Kulluk drilling rig removed from beach it rests on are starting to take shape.

The vessel is “sound and fit to tow,” Sean Churchfield, operations manager and incident commander for Royal Dutch Shell, told reporters at a press briefing Saturday afternoon. In the coming days, Unified Command -- the joint operation consisting of members of Shell, Noble Drilling Corp., U.S. Coast Guard, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and Kodiak stakeholders -- will attempt to tow the vessel 30 miles from its current grounding on Sitkalidak Island to refuge in Kiliuda Bay...

Suzanna Caldwell

After days of stalled attempts and little movement, plans for getting the grounded Kulluk drilling removed from beach it rests on are starting to take shape. Unified Command plans to hook a main tow line to the Kulluk Saturday to test “capabilities in preparation for recovery operations” according to a statement from the cooperative agency.

Whether or not the plan goes forward will depend heavily on weather and tidal conditions. Unified Command spokesman Ignacio Gonzalez said today's weather window was looking “favorable” for salvage crews...

Suzanna Caldwell

Schematics of Shell's Kulluk drilling unit, grounded since New Year's Eve off of the southwestern shore of Alaska's Kodiak Island, show that its fuel oil storage tanks are oriented away from the shore, potentially making them less prone to puncture as the unit sways on the rocky beach.

The schematics, submitted by Shell to the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement in May 2011 as part of the required Oil Spill Response Plan, show the arrangement of compartments in the conical drilling unit's hull...

Suzanna Caldwell

After mariners spent nearly a week battling and waiting out wicked winter seas, a salvage team has successfully boarded Royal Dutch Shell's ailing Arctic drill rig which has run aground on an island off the southwestern coast of Alaska's Kodiak Island.

Hours after the team returned to land, details about what it found and the implications for the next steps in any recovery effort remained closely guarded by the Unified Command structure in charge of the operation and communications with the press...

Suzanna Caldwell,Jill Burke

Salvage crews hoped to board the grounded drill rig Kulluk on Wednesday to better assess damage to the beached vessel, but bad weather remained a factor.

Coast Guard flyovers are planned for Wednesday over the Royal Dutch Shell conical drilling unit, which grounded off of Sitkalidak Island near southwestern Kodiak Island on Dec. 31. Those crews will determine whether it is safe to deploy a team onto the Kulluk to further evaluate the condition of the rig, which ran aground late Monday night...

Suzanna Caldwell

As Royal Dutch Shell struggled Tuesday to salvage a fuel-laden drilling ship grounded on a remote Alaska island , the incident reverberated thousands of miles away in Washington, D.C., with President Barack Obama’s staff monitoring the situation...

Alex DeMarban,Suzanna Caldwell

Winter is when the wind ramps up in Alaska, and that’s proving lucrative for wind power in the 49th state.

Two major wind projects came online late this year -- Fire Island Wind near Anchorage and Eva Creek in Interior Alaska near Healy.

Fire Island is producing more than expected for this time of year according to Ethan Schutt, senior vice president of land and development for Cook Inlet Region, Inc. (CIRI) the Alaska Native corporation that operates the wind farm. So far about 17,000 megawatt hours have been produced, enough to power roughly 6,500 Southcentral homes each month.

With above-average winds so far this winter, turbines are producing power “a little bit above expectations,” Schutt said...

Suzanna Caldwell

As rough seas continued to hammer Royal Dutch Shell's drilling ship that ran aground in Alaska on New Year's Eve, the company and federal and state officials had few new details to offer at an Anchorage press conference Tuesday afternoon. U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Paul Mehler said the Kulluk appears sound as of Tuesday afternoon, with no breach of hull and no discharge of fuel, lubricant or hydraulic fluid apparent from Coast Guard over-flights. Mehler told reporters that the Kulluk grounding is now considered a salvage operation...

Suzanna Caldwell

Helen Woodings has been skiing in the Matanuska Valley for almost 60 years, and for about half that time, she's been involved in trying to get a ski area built at Hatcher Pass, a popular skiing, touring and snowboarding destination for Southcentral snow buffs.

Woodings finally saw that dream become reality last week, when the Government Peak Recreation Area officially opened...

Suzanna Caldwell

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