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Shell: Giant oil rig to be towed to Seattle this week

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The Shell Arctic oil drilling rig when it arrived for a stop in Port Angles, Wash. (Photo courtesy of Heather Cerutti)

SEATTLE (AP) — A Royal Dutch Shell spokesman says a giant floating oil rig anchored off Port Angeles will be towed to Seattle this week despite the Seattle mayor’s assertion the Port of Seattle can’t host the rig until it gets a new land-use permit.

In an email Monday, Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said the 400-foot-long Polar Pioneer is scheduled to arrive at the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 “later in the week” to prepare for planned exploration in the Arctic Ocean.

Protesters in kayaks have promised to challenge the rig.

Smith says his company believes its arrangements to use the terminal are valid and disagrees with Mayor Ed Murray’s interpretation.

Murray has urged the port to reconsider its two-year, $13 million lease with Foss Maritime, a company whose client is Shell.

The Polar Pioneer is one of two drill rigs Shell plans to use this summer for exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s northwest coast. Smith says the second rig, the Noble Discoverer, is headed for the Port of Everett.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on Monday approved a multiyear Chukchi exploration plan for Shell.


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