Oil Exploration
2:29 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

Arctic drill ship nearly ready to leave Seattle for Alaska

The Arctic drill ship Kulluk has been berthed in Seattle for about 10 months, but if Shell Oil gets final federal permits and overcomes court challenges by environmental groups the vessel will be in Alaska waters this year.

The Kulluk could join a second drill ship, the Noble Discover, off Alaska. Shell's drilling plan calls for two exploratory wells by the Kulluk in the Beaufort Sea and three exploratory wells by the Noble Discoverer in the Chukchi Sea, and sometime in the future, a pipeline link to the trans-Alaska pipeline.

Modifications to the Kulluk will be completed by June 1. A decision on a sail-away date, or a possible stop in the Aleutian Islands port of Dutch Harbor, has not been set.