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Shell Alaska oil drilling rig heads south

Shell is moving its Arctic drill rig, the Kulluk, to Seattle for maintenance and technical upgrades.

This according to the West Seattle Blog, which keeps a close eye on the industrial marine facilities there and saw the notice in a marine industry advisory. Actually, the popular hyperlocal online site is more interested in the fact that another floating industrial machine that looks like a giant golf ball and has dominated the skyline for two months needs to be moved to make way for the Kulluk. The golf-ball thing is actually the SBX, for military Sea-Based X-Band missile detecting radar system.

The blog quotes Shell as saying the Kulluk headed south on July 1 for its time in the shipyard. Shell hopes to have the Kulluk and its other Arctic rig, the Discoverer, on the job in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas in summer 2012 for exploratory drilling. The company is still waiting on regulatory approval for those exploration activities.

Cool pictures and the West Seattle Blog story here.

Contact Patti Epler at patti(at)

Note: This article was corrected to reflect that the Kulluk is a drilling rig, not to be confused with the Nanuq, an ice-strenghened drilling ship that Shell also plans to use in the Arctic next summer.

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