Shell drilling vessels depart Alaska

The two leased drilling vessels at the heart of Shell’s now-abandoned Arctic oil exploration program are on the move away from Alaska.

On Monday the drillship Noble Discoverer left Dutch Harbour in Alaska for the Port of Everett in Washington. Soon the drilling rig the Transocean Polar Pioneer will also head away from Dutch Harbour, heading for Port Angeles also in Washington.

It is barely a fortnight since Shell surprised the industry and environmentalists alike by announcing it was upping sticks on the 2015 campaign in the Chukchi Sea. The move ended Shell’s Arctic quest for fossil fuels for the foreseeable future after the company had poured $7bn into the project.

In its statement on September 28 Shell said its preliminary drilling tests suggested its sites in the Burger Prospect did not merit further investment.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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