As gCaptain report yesterday, Shell’s Kulluk and Noble Discoverer rigs set sail for the Arctic on Wednesday from Vigor Industrial’s Seattle shipyard following completion of extensive environmental and safety upgrades by the company’s commercial ship repair subsidiary, Vigor Marine. The rigs are the Centerpieces of Shell’s 21 ship exploratory drilling fleet headed to the North Slope of Alaska this summer to drill 5 exploratory wells.
“It is impossible to overstate the pride Vigor Marine teams have felt working on these critical rigs,” said Liz Ugorcak, Senior Director of Ship Repair at Vigor Marine. “Everything down to the smallest detail is centered on protecting the environment. Ensuring safety at all levels was our primary focus.”
The Kulluk, an ice-classed semi-submersible drill rig measuring 266’ x 230’, arrived at Vigor’s Seattle yard in July, 2011. Following the work, Kolluk will be able operate with the ‘pack-it-in, pack-it-out’ mentality, with zero discharge in the Beaufort and Chuckchi Seas. Vigor says that everything down to the sink water will be captured and stored and even the blue and white paint scheme was chosen to accommodate the known preferences of whales.
The same care was taken with the Discoverer, a 512’ x 86’ ice-classed drill ship, Vigor Marine says. The Discoverer arrived in Seattle in April to undergo winterization and similar environmental upgrades. To get her ready, Vigor Marine mobilized a team of more than 500 workers to complete upgrades which would normally take up to 6 months, in just 10 weeks.
Vigor teams installed six EPODS, one on each engine. The 7’ x 20’ EPODs perform like catalytic converters in automobiles, capturing harmful discharges like carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. The Discoverer’s emissions now meet the highest air quality standards in the world.
“Vigor’s work on the Kulluk and Discoverer has been outstanding,” said Curtis Smith, spokesperson for Shell Alaska. “Vigor’s capacity to provide the highest levels of quality work within our timeframe is impressive and continues to make them a valued partner in Shell’s Alaskan offshore operations.” The Kulluk and Discoverer are the latest in a series of vessels Vigor Marine has completed work on for Shell Alaska, including the Barge Klamath and Arctic Challenger, both OSRVs.