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Noble Discoverer

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.
(Photo courtesy of Shell Oil Co.)

Arctic offshore drill company enters guilty pleas

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Bernie G. Wolford Jr., president of Noble Drilling U.S. LLC, appeared in federal court in Anchorage on Friday after reaching an agreement with prosecutors earlier this month.
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.)

Noble pleads guilty to violations involving Arctic drillship

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Noble Corp. pleaded guilty Monday to eight criminal charges tied to pollution, propulsion and record keeping problems with the two drilling rigs that bored Arctic oil wells for Shell in 2012.
Shell used the drillship Noble Discoverer for its 2012 drilling in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska.  (Jennifer A. Dlouhy / The Houston Chronicle)

Feds reveal details on Shell’s Arctic ambitions

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More details came to light Tuesday on Shell’s plans for exploratory oil drilling in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska, as federal regulators released a copy of the company’s broad Arctic drilling blueprint.
A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew hoists crew members from the Shell's mobile drilling unit Kulluk in 15- to 20-foot seas 80 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. (Photo: Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis)

Shell responds to $1.1 million Arctic pollution deal

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Shell’s troubled quest for Arctic oil in 2012 — now capped with a $1.1 million fine for environmental violations — will make the company better prepared to return to the region, a spokesman said Friday.
A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew hoists crew members from the Shell's mobile drilling unit Kulluk in 15- to 20-foot seas 80 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. (Photo: Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis)

Feds release findings from Arctic drilling probe

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The Obama administration on Thursday released the findings of a high-level probe of Shell’s problem-plagued 2012 Arctic drilling season that could dictate what energy companies must do to safeguard future oil exploration in the region.
Coast Guard inspectors look on as the Noble Discoverer is loaded onto the Xiang Yun Kou in Alaska. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard)

Vessels heaving Arctic rigs to Asian shipyards for repair

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A massive oceangoing dry-dock is hauling an Arctic drillship to Korea for repair, and another rig is about to make a similar journey, after problems surfaced once the vessels bored exploratory wells for Shell north of Alaska.