Big oil projects may fill Seattle port terminal during rebuild

Steve Wilhelm, January 9, 2015, Puget Sound Business Journal

For the next three years, petroleum industry activities may be taking over at the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 until a rebuild of the terminal for bigger container ships is completed.

The interim projects at the West Seattle terminal would include storage of Shell oil exploration rigs for Seattle-based Foss Maritime, according to a memo released Thursday by the Port of Seattle.

Up to eight Shell vessels could moor at Terminal 5 starting in May, if port commissioners approve the plan on Tuesday.

They may get pushback from people in the environmental community, who oppose local involvement in developments — including Shell’s oil drilling plans in the Arctic — that encourage greater use of petroleum products that release climate change gases.

In a second project, a group of Europe companies would use 50 to 100 acres of the 192-acre terminal to assemble modules of a liquefied natural gas plant, ultimately destined for Prince Rupert, Canada.

The projects are a way for the port to keep the terminal generating revenue while it is being upgraded.

The port commission decided in May to install six new cranes at the terminal capable of handling a new generation of extra-large ships.

That project, which will cost $180 million to $250 million, won’t be completed until after 2018.

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