Port of Seattle to Appeal Shell Arctic Rig Ban

Port of Seattle to Appeal Shell Arctic Oil Rig Ban

The Port of Seattle will appeal the City of Seattle’s decision to prevent the oil major Royal Dutch Shell from using the port’s Terminal 5 to moor its Arctic oil rig and accompanying tugs.

Earlier this month Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) said that Port of Seattle needs an additional permit if it wants to lease its Terminal 5 to serve as a mooring dock for equipment and vessels used in Shell’s Arctic operations.

The port had earlier agreed to lease the Terminal 5 facility to Shell for periods of approximately six months a year when the drilling rig is not in use in the Arctic.

”An appeal hearing provides a legal, structured format that acknowledges the seriousness of our concerns about changing long-standing permit requirements, and should not be viewed as hostile to the City of Seattle,” said Port Commission Co-President Stephanie Bowman.

”We expect that this will also provide a fair and objective opportunity for all affected parties to participate. We will work with the City of Seattle to define ‘cargo,’ as maritime businesses need that certainty.”

The US Department of Interior granted Shell a ‘conditional’ approval for oil explorations in the Arctic this week, but the Anglo-Dutch oil major still needs to get clearance from the US federal government and the state of Alaska before the start of the operations.

Shell proposes the drilling of up to six wells within the Burger Prospect, located in approximately 140 feet of water in the Chukchi Sea, about 70 miles northwest of the village of Wainwright. Shell will conduct its operations using the drillship M/V Noble Discoverer and the semi-submersible drilling unit Transocean Polar Pioneer, with each vessel providing relief-well capability for the other. The two drilling units and their supporting vessels will depart the Chukchi Sea at the conclusion of each exploration drilling season.

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