By Coral Garnick, May 8, 2015, Seattle Times
The Noble Discoverer, the drillship that’s part of Royal Dutch Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet, will arrive in Everett next week, according to the Port of Everett.
Shell confirmed Thursday that the ship will load and unload supplies in Everett before it heads to Seattle.
The news comes as Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said Monday that the Port of Seattle needs a new permit to host Shell’s drilling fleet at Terminal 5. The port plans to discuss the issue at a public meeting Tuesday.
Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said the company is closely watching “the actions of all interested parties” and, at the same time, is considering its options.
“At this time, we are still planning to go to Terminal 5 at the Port of Seattle,” he said in an email statement.
As a general policy, Shell does not discuss schedules or stops in detail. Smith said it is typical for plans to evolve and the company “prefers to do some work at the Port of Everett.”
It isn’t the first time Everett has hosted the controversial 514-foot drillship. The Noble Discoverer, along with other support vessels, loaded and unloaded supplies in Everett for the 2012 drill season, Port of Everett spokeswoman Lisa Lefeber said.
The port has moored, loaded and staged many of Shell’s vessels over the past five years. The icebreaker Aiviq, one of Shell’s Arctic drilling-support vessels, has been moored at the Port of Everett for nearly two years, Lefeber said.
It is currently at Terminal 5 in Seattle, along with offshore-supply ship Harvey Champion.
The Port of Seattle announced plans in early January to lease Terminal 5 to Foss, whose customer is Shell. The agreement was signed Feb. 9.
Lefeber said Everett, as well as other Washington and Alaskan ports, was evaluated as a possible location to host both the oil rig Polar Pioneer and the Noble Discoverer, but Seattle’s Terminal 5 was the best option.
The Polar Pioneer is currently in Port Angeles, and neither Foss nor Shell has said when it and the Noble Discoverer will reach Seattle.
Environmental activists oppose Foss and Shell’s use of Terminal 5 because of fears that the Arctic drilling could result in oil spills and additional fossil-fuel consumption contributing to climate change.
Environmentalists plan to take to Puget Sound in kayaks on May 16 to protest oil drilling.