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Feds allow Shell to drill for oil in Arctic Ocean off Alaska for first time in 20-plus years

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Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.35.25Aug. 17, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The federal government has given Royal Dutch Shell the final permit it needs to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska’s northwest coast for the first time in more than two decades.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said Monday that exploratory drilling can go ahead after the oil giant brought in a required piece of equipment to stop a possible well blowout in the Chukchi (chuk-CHEE’) Sea.

The agency in July gave Shell permission to drill only the top sections of two wells because key safety equipment hadn’t arrived. read more

Shell Seeks Modified Permit for Arctic Offshore Drilling

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Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 21.06.27ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Aug 10, 2015: By DAN JOLING Associated Press

Royal Dutch Shell PLC has applied to amend its federal permit to allow drilling into oil-bearing rock in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska’s northwest coast.

Shell last month received permission to begin some drilling in the Chukchi (chuk-CHEE’) Sea but was banned from digging into petroleum zones roughly 8,000 feet below the ocean floor.

The federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement limited the permit then because equipment was not on hand to handle a possible well blowout.

The equipment is on the Fennica, an icebreaker that suffered hull damage July 3 in the Aleutians Islands. The repaired Fennica left Portland, Oregon, on July 30. read more

Shell resumes offshore drilling in Arctic

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Oil giant Shell has resumed offshore drilling off the coast of Alaska following a two-day delay by Greenpeace activists. The move marks the first time Shell has conducted exploratory drilling in the Arctic since 2012.

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Date 01.08.2015

Royal Dutch Shell PLC announced on Friday that drilling operations had resumed in the Chukchi Sea off the northwest coast of Alaska on Thursday afternoon.

The resumption marks the first time Shell has conducted exploratory drilling in the Arctic since 2012, due to inclement weather and issues with equipment.

“In the days to come, the team aboard the Transocean Polar Pioneer will work to complete the top portion of the well in anticipation of drilling to total depth once the Fennica [icebreaker] arrives on site,” Shell said in a statement to AFP news agency. read more

Shell ship heads for Arctic

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Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 12.52.57CBS/AP July 31, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. — Authorities used boats, personal watercraft, poles and their bare hands to remove protesters in kayaks and hanging from bridges who had tried to block a Royal Dutch Shell icebreaker bound for an Arctic drilling operation.

The Fennica left dry dock Thursday afternoon and made its way down the Willamette River toward the Pacific Ocean soon after authorities forced the demonstrators from the river and the St. Johns Bridge.

Several protesters in kayaks moved toward the center of the river as the ship began its trip, but authorities in boats and personal watercraft cleared a narrow pathway for the Fennica. read more

Fines ordered as long as ship blocked from heading to Arctic

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Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 21.06.27By STEVEN DuBOIS and DAN JOLING

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge in Alaska on Thursday ordered Greenpeace USA to pay a fine of $2,500 for every hour that protesters dangle from a bridge in Oregon and block a Royal Dutch Shell icebreaker from leaving for oil drilling in the Arctic.

There was no sign that the protesters were going to abandon the blockade in Portland after the ruling in Anchorage by U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason that Greenpeace is in civil contempt.

Greenpeace USA Executive Director Annie Leonard said the activists will stay in place for now. read more

Shell Icebreaker Retreats After Morning Showdown

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by Jes Burns and Cassandra Profita OPB | July 29, 2015 2:34 p.m. | Updated: July 30, 2015 8:58 a.m. | Portland, Oregon

A Shell icebreaking vessel being protested by activist groups has turned around and is headed back toward the dry dock after a morning showdown with protesters. The St. Johns Bridge was reopened after being temporarily closed.

The U.S. Coast Guard was escorting the icebreaker on the Willamette River and warned the activists that they are breaking the law.

Georgia Faye Hirsty was one of the 13 hanging protestors. Speaking from her mobile phone while hanging from the bridge on Wednesday, she said she was glad to know the Arctic-bound icebreaker would remain in Portland for another day. But she said she and her fellow demonstrators weren’t about to declare victory and go home. read more

LA Times Editorial: Drilling for oil in the Chukchi Sea isn’t worth the risk

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A polar bear dries off after taking a swim in the Chukchi Sea in Alaska. The U.S. Interior Department has said updated scientific models don’t bode well for polar bear populations across the world, especially in Alaska, the only state in the nation with the white bears. (Brian Battaile / Associated Press)

By THE TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD: 29 July 2015

The Obama administration is being at least somewhat more cautious this time around in allowing Royal Dutch Shell to drill in the Arctic waters of the Chukchi Sea. The company must keep its drills from reaching the oil reserves until it has the equipment in place that can shut down a well in case of a spill. It may not drill in two places within 15 miles of each other because of the potential disruption to walrus habitat. The company has worked hard to convince Interior Department officials that it has overcome the sloppiness that led to a series of mishaps during its first attempt in 2012, including the grounding of its drilling rig. read more

Activists hang off Oregon bridge to stop Shell icebreaker from returning to Alaska

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Steven Dubois | Associated Press: July 29, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. — Environmental activists rappelled off Portland’s tallest bridge early Wednesday in an effort to stop a Shell Oil Arctic icebreaker from leaving the city.

Thirteen protesters dangled from the St. Johns Bridge while another 13 remained on the bridge as lookouts. Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard said the activists have enough water and food to last for days, and can hoist themselves to allow other marine traffic to pass. read more

Damaged Shell icebreaker arrives in Oregon for repairs

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Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 09.26.53By – Associated Press – Saturday, July 25, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Authorities say the Fennica, a vessel that Royal Dutch Shell PLC plans to use in its Arctic offshore drilling project, has arrived in Oregon for repairs.

Portland Police officials said the 380-foot icebreaker arrived at a Swan Island dry dock about 3 a.m. Saturday. The icebreaker is a key part of Shell’s exploration and spill response plan off Alaska’s northwest coast – it protects Shell’s fleet from ice and carries equipment that can stop gushing oil.

The Fennica was damaged earlier this month in the Aleutian Islands when it struck an underwater obstruction, tearing a gash in its hull. read more

Shell gets permits necessary for limited oil exploratory drilling off Alaska’s northwest coast

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Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 09.26.53Associated Press: July 22, 2015 | 4:29 p.m. EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration has given Royal Dutch Shell PLC approval to begin limited exploratory oil drilling off Alaska’s northwest coast.

The two permits issued Wednesday clear the way for drilling in Chukchi Sea, but with conditions.

Shell can only drill the top sections of wells because the company doesn’t have on site the critical emergency response equipment to cap the well in case of a leak. That equipment is aboard a ship headed to Portland, Oregon, for repairs. read more

Shell’s damaged Arctic drilling support vessel will go to Oregon for repair

Shell’s damaged Arctic drilling support vessel will go to Oregon for repair

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Dan Joling | Associated Press: July 13, 2015

Shell oil company will send a damaged ship carrying equipment required for Arctic offshore oil drilling from Alaska back to the West Coast for repairs.

Royal Dutch Shell PLC ‘s drilling schedule for two exploratory wells this summer in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s northwest coast, however, shouldn’t be delayed by maintenance work on the 380-foot icebreaker Fennica, spokesman Curtis Smith said Monday.

“We do not anticipate any impact to the (drilling) season as we do not require the vessel until August,” Smith said. read more

Hull damage forces Shell Arctic support ship in for repairs

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Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 19.49.22BY MARK THIESSEN: Associated Press: July 7, 2015

An icebreaker carrying a key piece of equipment for Arctic drilling planned by Royal Dutch Shell off the northern coast of Alaska was forced to return to dock after a hole more than three feet long was discovered in its hull, the company said Tuesday.

It was unclear if the mishap would delay Shell’s plan for drilling this summer.

The crew of the Fennica discovered the leak in a ballast tank on Friday as the ship was leaving the channel in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, on its way to the Arctic, Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said.

The company had not determined if repairs can be made to the breach measuring about 39 inches long and a half-inch wide while the ship remains in Dutch Harbor or if it will have to go to drydock for the work.

Smith said bad weather had kept Shell from getting an inspector to Dutch Harbor for almost two days. read more

Shell Secures New Authorization in Pursuing Arctic Drilling

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Shell Secures New Authorization in Pursuing Arctic Drilling

JUNEAU, Alaska — Jun 30, 2015: By BECKY BOHRER Associated Press

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Royal Dutch Shell has secured another federal authorization as it pursues plans to drill exploration wells in the Arctic waters off the Alaska coast.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday issued a letter of authorization allowing for the possible harassment of polar bears and Pacific walrus incidental to Shell’s drilling program work. Intentional harassment is not permitted.

The authorization includes measures that Shell must take to minimize the effect of its work on the animals, including a minimum spacing of 15 miles between all drill rigs or seismic survey vessels, something conservation groups had sought. Nonetheless, some of those groups still called on President Barack Obama’s administration to stop Arctic drilling. read more

Shell Heads for Alaska While Awaiting Final Drilling Permits

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Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 09.26.53ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Jun 26, 2015, 3:42 PM ET

By DAN JOLING Associated Press

One Royal Dutch Shell offshore drill rig is headed to Alaska and a second is poised to leave, despite lacking final federal permits that would allow exploratory drilling and possible confirmation of rich oil reserves under the Chukchi Sea.

A spokesman for Royal Dutch Shell PLC said that’s routine. But an attorney for Oceana, one of dozens of groups objecting to Arctic offshore drilling, said seeing Shell’s flotilla sail north puts pressure on federal agencies to sign off on the permits. read more

Former Shell worker says rush to prepare for Arctic drilling resulted in unsafe conditions

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By MARTHA BELLISLE Associated Press JUNE 19, 2015

SEATTLE — A woman who was permanently injured while working on one of Shell’s Arctic drilling support ships has sued, saying the company compromised safety in its rush to drill for oil.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Thursday by Anita Hanks said Shell and its contractor maintained dangerous work conditions on the Arctic Challenger as it prepared to drill in the Arctic in 2012. The oil spill containment vessel is part of Shell’s drilling fleet. It was docked in Bellingham at the time of an accident. read more

Former Shell Worker Cites Unsafe Conditions on Oil Ship

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SEATTLE — Jun 19, 2015, 3:07 PM ET

By MARTHA BELLISLE Associated Press

A woman who was injured while working on one of Shell’s Arctic drilling support ships has filed a federal lawsuit saying the company compromised safety in its rush to drill for oil.

Anita Hanks says Shell maintained dangerous work conditions on the Arctic Challenger as it prepared to drill in the Arctic in 2012.

The oil spill containment vessel is part of Shell’s drilling fleet. It was docked in Bellingham at the time of an accident. read more

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