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Noble Discoverer

Shell used the drillship Noble Discoverer for its 2012 drilling in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska.  (Jennifer A. Dlouhy / The Houston Chronicle)

Shell’s Arctic drillship heads to Alaska

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The trip moves Shell physically closer to resuming exploratory oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean next month, even though the company is still seeking four essential federal approvals to launch the work.
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)

Sea ice could keep Shell away from the Arctic until mid July

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Even if Shell wins all federal permits to drill in the Chukchi Sea this summer, sea ice could block it from launching the work until late July.
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 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)

No “showstoppers” yet for Shell’s Arctic drilling plans

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An emergency containment system was being tested in waters near Washington state on Tuesday, while those drilling permit reviews are under way.
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.
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 wins two more permits for planned Arctic drilling campaign

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The approval means Shell has just four remaining federal permits that are essential for it to resume drilling in the Chukchi Sea this summer.
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.
Protesters in kayaks paddle out to meet the Arctic offshore oil rig Polar Pioneer piggybacked atop the cargo deck vessel Blue Marlin as it arrives at Port Angeles, Wash., on  April 17.  (Keith Thorpe/The Peninsula Daily News via AP)

Activists in kayaks on horizon as Shell’s Arctic rig arrives at Washington port

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Activists opposed to Arctic drilling are preparing to greet the rig when it makes it to Emerald City, with some threatening a flotilla of kayaks to box the ship in.
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 […]
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)

As Obama administration weighs Arctic drilling, Shell moves rigs to region

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Shell is moving its drilling rigs to the Pacific Northwest, ahead of critical government decisions on the company’s Arctic exploration plans.