ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says he's launching an "expedited, high-level assessment" of the 2012 Arctic Ocean offshore drilling program. Salazar says the 60-day review will focus in part on problems experienced by Royal Dutch Shell PLC with its drilling vessels and spill containment vessel.
One of Shell's drilling vessels, the Kulluk, ran aground New Year's Eve on a remote Alaska island. It was pulled off Sunday night and towed Monday to shelter in a Kodiak Island bay. The Kulluk drilled last year in the Beaufort Sea. Shell's other Arctic drill ship, the Noble Discoverer, was temporarily ordered to remain in port in Seward last month after experiencing problems with crew safety and pollution control equipment. The vessel drilled last year in the Chukchi Sea.