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The drillship Noble Discoverer undergoes sea trials off Singapore in November 2014, following shipyard work and upgrades. Those improvements included a new main propulsion system, environmental controls and enhancements to the drilling systems. (Photo: Noble Corp.)

Coast Guard clears Shell drillship bound for Arctic

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The Noble Discoverer, now docked in Washington state waters, has received a critical “certificate of compliance” from the U.S. Coast Guard verifying it meets a host of safety and security requirements. Since a May 20 Coast Guard inspection, Shell and Noble cleared more than a dozen violations documented at the vessel.
The capping stack -- part of Shell's "Arctic Containment System" for a blown-out well -- is tested in waters near Washington state. Here, it is lifted by an A-frame before being lowered 150 feet into the water. (Photo: Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement)

Feds say Shell completed test for blown-out well response ahead of Arctic drilling

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The exercises, conducted Tuesday and Wednesday in waters near Washington state, focused on Shell’s capping stack, designed to sit atop a damaged well and choke off flowing oil and gas.
Seattle's skyline provides the backdrop for the Transocean Polar Pioneer, while it is being loaded with supplies in the city's port in May 2015. Shell plans to use the rig this summer to bore an exploratory oil well at its Burger prospect in the Chukchi Sea, about 70 miles northwest of the Alaska coast. A separate drillship, the Noble Discoverer, is set to work on another Burger well at the same time. (Jennifer A. Dlouhy / The Houston Chronicle)

Shell drilling rig leaves Seattle for Alaska waters

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Tugboats are pulling a Shell-contracted Arctic drilling rig around protesters in Puget Sound, as the Polar Pioneer begins its long trek to Alaska.
U.S. Coast Guard image showing the Royal Dutch Shell drilling rig Kulluk aground off a small island near Kodiak Island on Jan. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard)

Feds rap Shell for poor planning in botched tow of 2012 Arctic drilling rig

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The NTSB report comes at a pivotal time for Shell, which has asked federal regulators for permission to resume exploratory oil drilling in the Chukchi Sea as soon as July.
With the Olympic Mountains in the background, the Polar Pioneer drilling rig arrives in Port Angeles, Wash., aboard a heavy-lift transport ship in April. Shell Oil Co. hopes to use the rig for exploratory drilling during the summer open-water season in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast, if it can get the permits. (Daniella Beccaria/seattlepi.com via AP, File)

Obama administration gives thumbs up to Shell’s Arctic drilling plans

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Shell moved one step closer to resuming its $6 billion quest for crude in the Arctic on Monday, with the Obama administration’s approval of its broad plan for exploratory oil drilling in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska.
With the Olympic Mountains in the background, the Polar Pioneer drilling unit  arrives in Port Angeles, Wash., aboard a heavy-lift transport ship. Shell hopes to use the rig for exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast. (Daniella Beccaria/seattlepi.com via AP)

Judge orders Greenpeace to stay away from drill ships

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U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason on Friday also prohibited Greenpeace from flying unmanned vehicles over the offshore Arctic area where Shell plans to drill.
Greenpeace activists approach the Blue Marlin before climbing aboard the heavy-lift vessel and camping out on the Polar Pioneer drilling rig. Shell has contracted the Polar Pioneer for a new round of Arctic drilling in the Chukchi Sea later this year. (Photo: Greenpeace)

Shell wins restraining order against Greenpeace

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WASHINGTON — Hours after stormy weather forced Greenpeace activists to climb off an Arctic drilling rig in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Shell won a temporary restraining order blocking the group from similar protests. The ruling, by U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason, bars Greenpeace and its activists from boarding, barricading or interfering with the […]
Greenpeace activists held a banner that said 'The People vs. Shell' as they scaled the Polar Pioneer drill rig in the Pacific Ocean. (Photo: Greenpeace)

Greenpeace protesters leave Arctic rig

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Rough seas prompted the decision, Greenpeace said in an email. The protesters rappelled off the rig and got into inflatable boats before returning to a Greenpeace ship stationed nearby.
Categories: Arctic, General
The Polar Pioneer, a drilling rig contracted by Shell for Chukchi Sea exploration in 2015, is transported across the Pacific on the heavy-lift vessel Blue Marlin. (Photo: Vincenzo Floramo / Greenpeace)

Feds launch review of Shell’s Arctic drilling plan

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Federal regulators have begun a 30-day review of a broad plan that forms a framework for Shell to resume Arctic drilling this summer. The company also must obtain permits for each proposed well.
Greenpeace activists scale the Polar Pioneer, a Transocean drilling rig contracted by Shell Oil Co. for Arctic exploration in summer 2015.  The activists climbed aboard the rig as a heavy-lift vessel, the Blue Marlin, is carrying it across the Pacific Ocean, en route to the United States.  (Photo: Greenpeace)

Shell files lawsuit against Arctic drilling protesters

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The complaint, lodged in a federal district court in Alaska, comes one day after the activists climbed aboard Shell’s contracted Polar Pioneer drillship while it is traveling across the Pacific Ocean toward the United States.