Shell says Arctic drill plans unaffected by Seattle city permit snag

Seattle: Shell said on Tuesday it will not be deterred from its Arctic drilling ambitions despite Monday’s ruling by the city of Seattle that the port must get a new land-use permit for its Terminal 5 before the Dutch oil giant’s fleet can be moored there.

The company has faced protests and disruption all the way as it moves toward a resumption of Arctic drilling with two rigs in the Chukchi Sea off northwest Alaska.

But before it can get there it has few more procedural and legal hurdles to clear, including this permit from Seattle, which could take weeks or months.

There is also a court challenge by environmentalists who claim the port should not have signed a lease with shipping company Foss Maritime until they have conducted a proper environmental review. Foss’s client is Shell.

“We have backup plans,” said Ann Pickard, Shell’s executive vice president for the Arctic. “I don’t think this will delay the program.”

Foremost among those alternate options is to simply locate the fleet in another port.

“There are other ports that would like us to be there, and they continue to be supportive,” said Pickard.

She would not specify which ports but one of Shell’s Arctic-destined rugs, the Polar Pioneer is in Port Angeles, Washington State, and the second one Noble Discoverer is on its way there.


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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