Update: 2nd Shell drillship, Noble Discoverer, in West Seattle

Thanks to Ilona Berzups for the photo of the drillship Noble Discoverer arriving in Elliott Bay this afternoon. It was bound for Vigor Shipyards on Harbor Island, according to this marine-traffic-chronicling website. Follow that link for more background on the North Slope oil drilling planned for the Noble Discoverer; as is the case with the drillship Kulluk — Shell’s other sea rig, which has been at Vigor since July — the ND has been advancing through the permit process. Unlike the Kulluk’s arrival, we didn’t get word of this one in advance – one month ago, it was reported to be heading to the Arctic – so we’ll be checking with Vigor tomorrow.

(Added: Photo by Long B. Nguyen, taken Sunday afternoon)
ADDED 8:53 PM: Looking for more background and context on where the situation stands now, we found this March Seattle-datelined story by a Los Angeles Times reporter.

UPDATED 11:38 AM MONDAY: We contacted Shell for more information on both this drillship’s arrival and the Kulluk’s status, and heard back from Curtis Smith:

As you mentioned, the Noble Discoverer has joined Shell’s second primary drilling rig, the Kulluk, at the Vigor shipyard. Both vessels will be deployed to Alaska for Shell’s planned 2012 offshore drilling program. The departure date is not set, but since they are both expected to be on-site in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, respectively, they will likely depart Seattle sometime in June.

While in Seattle, the Discoverer will undergo final modifications to its emissions systems and receive minor winterization upgrades in preparations for its departure to Alaska. The Kulluk will leave at roughly the same time. As you are probably aware, Shell is investing hundreds of millions into both vessels to further reduce their environmental footprint once in the Arctic.

7 Replies to "Update: 2nd Shell drillship, <i>Noble Discoverer</i>, in West Seattle"

  • Gene April 1, 2012 (8:50 pm)

    Drill baby drill – China needs more oil. We, and the ocean/arctic, get the risk, they get the reward.
    (For those that don’t know, the US is already a net exporter of liquid fuels).

  • Jim April 2, 2012 (8:05 am)

    The lights on the dock around that ship are way too bright. They are bright white and dominate the skyline. I can only hope they are temporary.

  • Joe the Plumber April 2, 2012 (9:21 pm)

    Gene. I believe we sell the Chinese that oil. That’s our reward, along with well paid domestic jobs. Its called Capitalism.

  • richard April 3, 2012 (4:24 am)

    great news! my brother has a job at vigor and he is happy.

  • Nick April 6, 2012 (12:50 pm)

    When I was young we would sit at a table w/no meat and ask my dad why. It’s just that way he would say. Rarely home cause he was working 2 jobs for less than 10 an hour. My kids will never go through that. No computers or cars let alone any plastic. Just backbreaking jobs everywhere w/o oil. What about the tractors that plow the fields your corn is grown. We will drill while others sit at a desk and judge. Until you are oil free just eat your soy, and wonder how normal hardworkers like us are treating our kids like kings. Daddy loves you, and as soon as my weeks are up it’s whatever you want.

  • JimAK April 8, 2012 (12:50 pm)

    Gene, there are two reasons why we are a net petroleum exporter:

    1. Obama’s lack of a coherent energy program and his support/subsidies for “green energy” like Solyndra and Fisker have driven oil prices up.

    2. The ObamaConomy has millions unemployed so they can’t afford to drive.

    Lower demand is why we are an exporter. When – if – the economy improves, demand will come
    back, driving prices even higher.

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