Today a group of activists staged an elaborate hoax that caught many publications off guard, including The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, TreeHugger and Revmodo. The individuals involved staged a video of a private party supposedly held by Shell at the Seattle Space Needle to send off the oil giant’s Kulluk and Noble Discoverer rigs, which will drill several sites in the Arctic. The party featured a centerpiece model of the Kulluk meant to dispense beverages to guests. After several photos were taken in front of the model rig, the switch was hit, and liquor spewed all over a guest.

Shell representatives claim no connection with this party, nor the press release that went out later today claiming the desire to pursue legal action. Gawker reported on the unfolding of events, and how this hoax was uncovered.

Though the video may have been fake, it served as a reminder of the dangers of drilling — just imagine the actual rig spewing oil into the Arctic. Shell claims to be ready for such an event, but containing a spill in icy waters is more difficult than it may sound.

The two rigs Shell is sending up are both older than the 2001 Deepwater Horizon, which was to blame to the Gulf of Mexico spill in 2010. The Kulluk, from the 1980s, and the Noble Discoverer, built in 1966, were both retrofitted to handle harsh Arctic weather. Time will tell if they can withstand the temperatures and fast-paced work Shell is aiming for. The company seeks to drill five wells in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas — all this summer.

Via Reddit

Main image credit: Dave Nakayama/Flickr

Video credit: Logan Price/Occupy Seattle