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.