October 31, 2012 |
SEATTLE - The Kulluk drilling rig was in the process of dismantling in the Beaufort Sea off the coast of Alaska on Wednesday, concluding Shell Alaska's troubled debut season of offshore drilling in the U.S. Arctic. Company officials said the Noble Discoverer rig was already headed south out of the Chukchi Sea, and operations in the Beaufort were coming to a close on the last day allowed under federal permits for drilling, prohibited after the onset of winter ice. “Given the challenges we faced from the perspective of sea ice and logistics in deploying assets and employees to the Arctic for the first time in two decades, we're very pleased with the work we accomplished,” Shell spokesman Curtis Smith told the Los Angeles Times.
October 11, 2012 |
Seattle-based Alaska Airlines announced Thursday its biggest aircraft order, the purchase of 50 Boeing jets. The planes, three versions of the Boeing 737 jets, add to the current fleet of 120 Boeing 737s. But the airline said two-thirds of the new planes will replace aging aircraft. "This order positions us for growth and ensures that we'll continue to operate the quietest and most fuel-efficient aircraft available for the foreseeable future," Alaska Airlines President and Chief Executive Brad Tilden said in a statement.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 4, 2012 |
The 55-year-old man found dead in Burbank along a 5 Freeway off-ramp Tuesday evening was a longtime Alaska Airlines pilot scheduled to fly back to Seattle that morning, the airline said Wednesday. A passerby spotted the body along a fence at the Scott Road off-ramp about 6 p.m. Tuesday and called authorities, Burbank Police Sgt. Darin Ryburn said. Paramedics arrived and pronounced the man dead. He was identified as Lee Clifford Morris of Richland, Wash., a Seattle-based pilot who worked for Horizon and Alaska Airlines for 26 years, said Paul McElroy, an Alaska Airlines spokesman.
September 23, 2012 |
WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - It was the down slope of August, and in the icy winds and freezing rain that masquerade as summer on the Arctic coast, Shell Alaska had to move its community barbecue indoors to the school gym. Billed as the oil company's thank-you to the Iñupiat Eskimo village that is about to become a base for offshore drilling operations, the event featured free hamburgers, beans and something rarely seen up in the Far North - plates heaped...
September 19, 2012 |
The Alaska Board of Game has refused to consider a request to establish an emergency no-hunting zone for wolves on the edge of Denali National Park, a buffer sought after the park's best-known pack lost two of its prime breeding females and largely disappeared from public view. The issue has consequences for tourism - viewing wolves in the wild is one of the premier attractions at the 6-million-acre park - but state officials say a ban on hunting and trapping on the edge of the park is not necessary to protect the substantial numbers of wolves that still roam the park.
September 17, 2012 |
Shell Alaska said Monday it has abandoned its efforts to drill into hydrocarbon deposits in the offshore Arctic after the latest in a series of glitches on the company's troubled oil containment barge resulted in damage to the high-tech dome designed to contain oil in the event of an underwater spill. Company officials said they will continue to drill "top holes" off the Alaskan coast through the end of this season's drilling window, but will not attempt to reach any oil deposits this year -- a serious but not fatal setback for the company, which has spent six years attempting to explore its outer continental shelf leases off the coast of Alaska.
September 13, 2012 |
Setting the stage for confrontation over the massive National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell announced the state would withdraw from a joint planning process with the federal government that is designed to shape the location and scope of development on one of the nation's largest untapped onshore oil reserves. In a surprise communique late Wednesday, the Republican governor said the state's decision to back out as a cooperating partner reflects the federal Department of Interior's “complete failure” to take into account the state's preferences for development and the federal government's “complete lack of respect for views of the state.” The state's participation is not essential to completing the plan, but the standoff reflects the deep divisions over how much of the 22 million acres should be protected as habitat for grizzlies, caribou and hundreds of thousands of birds that make the western Arctic tundra their summertime home.
September 12, 2012 |
SEATTLE - A 19-year-old fisherman whose boat capsized in the chilly waters of southern Alaska floated for more than 24 hours in a 4-foot plastic fish tub, singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” to keep his spirits up during an anxious night. Ryan Harris was finally rescued from his battle with 8-foot waves by a Coast Guard helicopter, which had joined a massive search of the waters around Sitka, Alaska, for Harris and his crewmate, Stonie Huffman, the Sitka Daily Sentinel reported. Huffman survived, too, though he didn't have a bin in which to float.
September 2, 2012
The National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska just isn't what it used to be - or rather, what we thought it was. Until about two years ago, the 23-million-acre spread of land was thought to hold a treasure-trove of 10.6 billion barrels of black gold. Then research by the U.S. Geological Survey brought the figure way down, to less than a tenth of that amount. Yet the reserve is rich in other features, among them wildlife and the fragile ecosystems in which it lives. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar wisely recognized both kinds of resources in drafting the first comprehensive plan for the reserve.
August 27, 2012 |
BARROW, Alaska - Here at the top of the world, the news that Arctic sea ice has reached a new low - the smallest footprint since satellites began measuring it three decades ago - is not much of a surprise. The Arctic seas off the Alaska coast have been increasingly ice-free in recent years. On Monday, the gray, wind-driven surf churned vigorously along the northern coast, with no sign of ice anywhere under the low, fog-shrouded skies. But it has been a strange summer here. Until a few weeks ago, there was more ice spread across the near-shore waters of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas than anyone can remember for the last several years - a curse for the engineers waiting to begin plumbing oil wells into the sea floor, but a blessing for Inupiat hunters, who have had an unusually easy time catching seals from ice floes close to home.