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Port of Seattle hosts Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 17.18.55From an article by Joe Connelly published 11Feb 2015 by Seattlepi.com under the headline:

Port of Seattle quietly signs homeport lease for Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet

Extracts

The Port of Seattle has quietly inked a two-year lease under which Shell Oil will use Terminal 5 on the Seattle waterfront as the base for its efforts to drill in Arctic waters of Alaska’s Chukchi Sea.

With rapid authorization, negotiation and signing of the lease — reminiscent of how decisions on the waterfront used to be greased — the port has secured a $13.17 million deal and forestalled efforts by the region’s environmental groups to stop it.

“This year we are planning on drilling in Alaska,” Simon Henry, chief financial officer at Royal Dutch Shell, told a stockholder briefing two weeks ago.

The oil giant expects to spend $1 billion on its Arctic plans this year. Shell can afford it. Profits for 2014 totaled $19.04 billion, even as oil prices were dropping.

“Even if we don’t drill this summer it will be approaching $1 billion because of the commitment to keep the fleet of ships in place,” Henry said.

Shell had a disastrous experience in 2012 when it tried to drill in the Chukchi.

The Noble Discoverer broke loose and nearly ran aground. Later in the year, a U.S. Coast Guard inspection turned up multiple safety and record-keeping violations. Shell’s contractor, Noble Energy, pleaded guilty to felonies and paid $12.2 million in fines and community service projects.

Shell started to drill a exploratory well in the Chukchi Sea, only to be turned back by pack ice.

Its conical drilling ship, the Kulluk, was being towed to the “lower 48″ in December 2012 — in the teeth of Gulf of Alaska storms — when it broke loose from its tow lines. The ship ran aground near Kodiak, and had to be taken to China and taken apart.

With the stakes high, and having already invested $2.8 billion in leases, Shell is pressing on.

FULL ARTICLE 

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