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Offshore Alaska Exploration Vessels

Shell plans to conduct its exploration drilling program using the Kulluk and Discoverer drill rigs. In addition, a variety of vessels will be used in support of the exploration drilling operations. Learn more about the vessels associated with Shell’s exploration program.

Affinity

Affinity Oil spill response and fuel storage tanker

Oil spill response and fuel storage tanker

The Affinity is an oil spill response tanker that in the event of a spill will store recovered oil from the Endeavor, Aiviq, Sisuaq, Nanuq, and Klamath.

The Affinity is also a fuel storage tanker and will supply fuel for the entire fleet.

Vessel Information and Specifications

  • Length: 748 ft
  • Width: 106 ft
  • Draft: 47 ft
  • Accommodations: 25
  • Maximum Speed: 16 knots
  • Owner/Operator: Neptune Navigation

Aiviq

Aiviq  Primary anchor handling vessel

Primary anchor handling vessel

The Aiviq is a new purpose built vessel that will operate in the Beaufort Sea. The Aiviq will serve as the primary anchor handler in support of the Kulluk. The Aiviq will also serve as the secondary ice management vessel.

The Aiviq is a vessel of opportunity for spill response and is fitted with spill recovery storage. In addition, the vessel has primary oil spill response capability by having a Transrec 150 skimmer onboard. 

Around the clock ice forecasting using real-time satellite coverage (available through Shell Ice and Weather Advisory Center) will support the ice management duties.

Vessel Information and Specifications

  • Length: 360.6 ft
  • Width: 80 ft
  • Draft: 24 ft
  • Accommodations: 62
  • Maximum Speed: 15 knots
  • Owner/Operator : Edison Chouest Offshore

Arctic Seal

Arctic Seal

Landing craft

During drilling season, the Arctic Seal will operate as a Beaufort resupply vessel to and from West Dock.

Vessel Information and Specifications

  • Length: 134 ft
  • Width: 32 ft
  • Draft: 7 ft
  • Accommodations: 17
  • Maximum Speed: 10 knots
  • Owner/Operator: Bering Marine

Corbin Foss Arctic Challenger

Arctic Challenger

Tug and Containment Barge


The Arctic Challenger barge will be supported by the Corbin Foss Tug. The Arctic Challenger will house the Arctic Containment System.

The Arctic Challenger is designed for Arctic conditions including ice and cold temperatures. The containment system equipment is designed for maximum reliability, ease of operation, flexibility and robustness so it can be used for a variety of blowout situations.

Vessel Information and Specifications

Arctic Challenger

  • Length: 310.1 ft
  • Width: 104.4 ft
  • Draft: 19.3 ft
  • Accommodations: 72
  • Maximum Speed: N/A
  • Owner/Operator: Crowley
Corbin Foss

Corbin Foss

  • Length: 149.8 ft
  • Width: 40 ft
  • Draft: 18.5 ft
  • Accommodations: 11
  • Maximum Speed: 12 knots
  • Owner/Operator: Foss Maritime

Pt. Oliktok & Endeavor

Pt. Oliktok & Endeavor

Tug and Barge

The OSR barge Endeavor and tug Pt. Oliktok are primary response vessels. They have sufficient containment, recovery, and storage capacity for the initial operational period in the event of a spill.

The Endeavor will have associated smaller workboats called Kvichaks. There are three 34 ft. Kvichaks that will support the OSR barge by laying out booms. One 47 ft. Rozema will provide skimming services.

Vessel Information and Specifications

Pt. Oliktok

  • Length: 190 ft
  • Width: 32 ft
  • Draft: 8.5 ft
  • Accommodations: 8
  • Maximum Speed: 8 knots
  • Owner/Operator: Crowley


Endeavor

  • Length: 205 ft
  • Width: 90 ft
  • Draft: N/A
  • Accommodations: N/A
  • Maximum Speed: N/A
  • Owner/Operator: Crowley

Fennica

Primary ice management vessel

Primary ice management vessel

The Fennica will serve as the primary ice management vessel in support of the Noble Discoverer drilling rig in the Chukchi Sea. 

Although the majority of Shell’s 2012 exploration will be conducted in ice free seas, the Fennica has the capability to work in thick ice.

Additional Information

It is anticipated that the Fennica will be actively managing ice during the latter part of the season, within 25 mi (40 km) of the Discoverer. Active ice management involves using the vessel to steer larger floes so that their path does not intersect with the drill site.

Around-the-clock ice forecasting using real-time satellite coverage (available through Shell Ice and Weather Advisory Center) will support the ice management duties.

Main Updagrade Elements

  • Helideck
  • New emissions equipment
  • ROVs
  • Capping stack
  • Remote BoP equipment

Vessel Information and Specifications

  • Length: 380.5 ft
  • Width: 85 ft
  • Draft: 27.5 ft
  • Accommodations: 77
  • Maximum Speed: 16 knots
  • Owner/Operator: Arctia Offshore

Harvey Explorer

Harvey Explorer

Supply vessel

The Harvey Explorer will shuttle supplies from the Arctic Seal and/or similar vessels to the Kulluk or Discoverer. During the resupply trips, the Harvey Explorer will be used to remove the mud/cuttings and other waste streams.

The Harvey Explorer will also provide additional primary oil spill response, using a Transrec 150 skimmer.

Additional Information

While the Kulluk leaves Camden Bay temporarily during the Kaktovik and Nuiqsut subsistence whale hunts, Shell will resupply the Kulluk with drilling supplies and equipment brought in from Dutch Harbor and temporarily stored on the Harvey Explorer or Spirit.

Drilling will be suspended for the bowhead whaling hunt. When drilling starts up again after the hunt has concluded, additional resupply may be required from West Dock via the Arctic Seal via transfer to the Harvey Explorer or Spirit to the drilling vessel.

Vessel Information and Specifications

  • Length: 240 ft
  • Width: 56 ft
  • Draft: 15.5 ft
  • Accommodations: 26
  • Maximum Speed: 13 knots
  • Owner/Operator: Harvey Gulf Offshore

Harvey Spirit

Harvey Spirit

Supply vessel

The Harvey Spirit will shuttle supplies from the Arctic Seal and/or similar vessels to the Kulluk or Discoverer. During the resupply trips, the Harvey Spirit will be used to remove the mud/cuttings and other waste streams. 

The Harvey Spirit will also provide additional primary oil spill response, using a Transrec 150 skimmer. Additional Information While the Kulluk leaves Camden Bay temporarily during the Kaktovik and Nuiqsut subsistence whale hunts, Shell will resupply the Kulluk with drilling supplies and equipment brought in from Dutch Harbor and temporarily stored on the Harvey Explorer or Spirit.

Drilling will be suspended for the bowhead whaling hunt. When drilling starts up again after the hunt has concluded, additional resupply may be required from West Dock via the Arctic Seal via transfer to the Harvey Spirit or Explorer to the drilling vessel.

Vessel Information and Specifications

  • Length: 280 ft
  • Width: 60 ft
  • Draft: 16.5 ft
  • Accommodations: 26
  • Maximum Speed: 13.5 knots
  • Owner/Operator: Harvey Gulf Offshore

Kulluk

specifically

Kulluk vessel

Drilling Unit

The Kulluk was specifically designed and constructed for extended season drilling operations in Arctic waters. 

The Kulluk was moored in Dutch Harbor, Alaska from fall 2010 until June 2011, when it was moved to Seattle for upgrades. It will be used to drill wells in the Beaufort Sea.

The Kulluk is rated to work in weather conditions historically occurring throughout the open water season (July-October).

Additional Information

The Kulluk was built in 1983 and purchased by Shell in 2005. It has been upgraded and refurbished since then to work in the U.S. Arctic.

The Kulluk was named by a young schoolgirl from Inuvik in 1982. Kulluk means, “thunder” in Inuvialuktun.

Vessel Information and Specifications

Technical Upgrade Cost

  • 2006-2012 = $292 million

Main Upgrade Elements

  • New C-175 engines and control network
  • Change out and “ePOD” engine emission control technology
  • Heli-deck upgrade
  • Noise control and vibration engine mounts
  • BOP stacks x2 with dual shear rams
  • Drilling equipment

Specifications

  • Length and Width: 266 ft (Diameter of main deck)
  • Draft: 41 ft
  • Accommodations: 108
  • Maximum Speed: N/A
  • Owner/Operator: Shell/Noble
  • Unique, purpose-built conical Arctic Class IV Hull design
  • High-performance 12 point mooring system

Guardsman & Klamath

Klamath vessel

Tug and Barge

The oil spill response barge Klamath and tug Guardsman will be staged offshore in the vicinity of the Noble Discoverer drillship. The Klamath will have sufficient containment, recovery, and storage capacity for the initial operational period in the unlikely event of a spill. The Klamath is considered to be a part of secondary response. 

The Klamath will carry a 47-ft (14-m) skimming vessel, three 34-ft (10-m) workboats, four mini-barges, and boom and duplex skimming units for near-shore recovery.

Vessel Information and Specifications

Klamath

  • Length: 320 ft
  • Width: 76 ft
  • Draft: 22 ft
  • Accommodations: N/A
  • Maximum Speed: N/A
  • Owner/Operator: Crowley
Guardsman vessel

Guardsman

  • Length: 126 ft
  • Width: 34 ft
  • Draft: 17 ft
  • Accommodations: 15
  • Maximum Speed: 8-12 knots
  • Owner/Operator: Crowley

Lauren Foss & Tuuq

Lauren Foss & Tuuq

Tug and Warebarge


During resupply trips, mud/cuttings and other waste streams will be removed from vessels and transported to the Tuuq. All waste streams will then be moved south for disposal at the end of the drilling season.

Vessel Information and Specifications

Lauren Foss

  • Length: 400 ft
  • Width: 99.5 ft
  • Draft: 19.33 ft
  • Accommodations: N/A
  • Maximum Speed: N/A
  • Owner/Operator: Foss Maritime

Tuuq

  • Length: 149.8 ft
  • Width: 40 ft
  • Draft: 18.5 ft
  • Accommodations: 11
  • Maximum Speed: 12 knots
  • Owner/Operator: Foss Maritime

Nanuq

Nanuq vessell

Oil spill response vessel

The Nanuq will be staged in the Chukchi Sea to immediately respond in the unlikely event of a spill. The Nanuq will provide containment, recovery, and storage for the initial operational period. 

Together with an Oil Spill Response barge and a tug, the Nanuq will have sufficient containment, recovery, and storage capacity for spill response until the oil spill Tanker arrives.

Vessel Information and Specifications

  • Length: 301 ft
  • Width: 60 ft
  • Draft: 19 ft
  • Accommodations: 41
  • Maximum Speed: 16 knots
  • Owner/Operator: Edison Chouest Offshore

Noble Discoverer

Noble Discoverer

Drillship

Updates to the Noble Discoverer include new drilling equipment, ice-strengthened sponsons, the latest ice-monitoring equipment and a new catalytic control system. 

The Noble Discoverer is rated to work in weather conditions historically occurring throughout the open water season (July-October). Even though activities on the Discoverer may end earlier in the season, due to stipulations, the rig will remain in the theater as a backup relief well rig for the extremely low probability that there may be a need in the Beaufort Sea. 

Updates include new drilling equipment, ice-strengthened sponsons, the latest ice-monitoring equipment and a new catalytic control system.

Additional Information

The Noble Discoverer was a log carrier built in 1966, it was converted to a turret moored drillship in 1976 and has been upgraded and refurbished twice in the last 10 years to work in the U.S. Arctic.

Technical Upgrade Cost

  • 2006 - 2012 = $193 million.

Main Updgrade Elements

  • Hull Sponson ice-classed
  • Heli-deck upgrade
  • Zero discharge upgrade
  • Deck space and riser bay upgrades
  • 2-BOP stacks with dual shear rams
  • Drilling equipment upgrades
  • Electrical and SCR systems upgrades
  • Anchor wench and tension monitoring systems upgrade
  • Engine emission control technology upgrade

Vessel Information and Specifications

  • Length: 514 ft
  • Width: 85 ft
  • Draft: 27 ft
  • Accommodations: 124
  • Maximum Speed: 8 knots
  • Owner/Operator: Noble
  • Turret moored drillship with maneuvering thrusters

Nordica

Nordica vessel

Primary ice management vessel

The Nordica will serve as the primary ice management vessel in support of the Kulluk. 

Although the majority of Shell’s 2012 exploration will be conducted in ice free seas, the Nordica has the capability to work in thick ice.

Additional Information

It is anticipated that the Nordica will be actively managing ice during the latter part of the season, within 25 mi (40 km) of the Kulluk. Active ice management involves using the vessel to steer larger floes so that their path does not intersect with the drill site.

Around-the-clock ice forecasting using real-time satellite coverage (available through Shell Ice and Weather Advisory Center) will support the ice management vessels. 

When the Nordica is not needed for ice management, it will reside outside the 25 mi (40 km) radius from the Kulluk as long as it is safe to do so. The vessel will enter and exit the Beaufort Sea alongside the Kulluk.

Vessel Information and Specifications

  • Length – 380.5 ft.
  • Accommodations – 77
  • Maximum speed – 16 knots
  • Owned/Operated by Arctia Offshore
  • 3 bow thrusters
  • Main crane hook capacity – 160 tons
  • Secondary crane hook capacity – 5 tons

Sisuaq

Sisuaq vessel

Offshore vessel

While the Kulluk is anchored at a drill site, the offshore supply vessel Sisuaq will shuttle supplies to the rig from the Tuuq. On the return trip, the Sisuaq will transport mud/cuttings and other waste streams back to the Tuuq from the rig. At the conclusion of the season these waste streams will be barged south for disposal. 

The Sisuaq is also a vessel of opportunity for spill response and is fitted with spill recovery storage. The vessel has primary oil spill response capability by having a Transrec 150 skimmer onboard.

Additional Information

Drilling will be suspended for the bowhead whaling hunt beginning August 25, 2012. When drilling starts up again after the bowhead whaling hunt in Kaktovik and Nuiqsut has concluded, additional resupply may be required from West Dock via the Arctic Seal via transfer to the Sisuaq to the rig.

Vessel Information and Specifications

  • Length: 300 ft
  • Width: 64 ft
  • Draft: 19.9 ft
  • Accommodations: 46
  • Maximum Speed: 14 knots
  • Owner/Operator: Harvey Gulf Offshore

Tor Viking II

Tor Viking II

Primary anchor handling vessel

The Tor Viking II was built in 2000 and will serve as the primary anchor handling vessel in support of the Noble Discoverer. Its secondary purpose will be as an ice management vessel, the Tor Viking II has carried out ice management missions in the Arctic and Baltic Seas.

Although the majority of Shell’s 2012 exploration will be conducted in ice free seas, the Tor Viking II has the capability to work in thick ice. 

The Coast Guard awarded the crew of the Tor Viking II with the Meritorious Public Service Award on behalf of Rear Adm. Thomas Ostebo, for their assistance in rescuing the cargo vessel Golden Seas & her 22 crew members in the Bering Sea in December 2010.

Additional Information

The Tor Viking II will enter and exit the Chukchi Sea with the Noble Discoverer and will remain at a location approximately 25 mi (40 km) upwind and upcurrent of the drillship when not in use. Any ice management would be expected to occur several miles upwind from the Discoverer.

Around-the-clock ice forecasting using real-time satellite coverage (available through Shell Ice and Weather Advisory Center) will support ice management duties.

Vessel Information and Specifications

  • Length – 275 ft.
  • Width – 59 ft.
  • Draft – 20 ft.
  • Accommodations – 23
  • Maximum speed – 16 knots
  • Owner/Operator – Viking Supply

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RELATED LINKS

Noble Discoverer
Shell plans to conduct its exploration drilling program using the Kulluk and Discoverer drill rigs.