I got to see the rig this weekend. These photos don’t do it justice as far as its size goes
On May 13, the Polar Pioneer chugged determinedly across Puget Sound toward Seattle, ignoring requests from the mayor and port officials to stay away.
The Pioneer is a fourth-generation, semisubmersible drilling rig, designed by the Japanese firm Polar Hitachi and built in the shipyard in Ariake, Japan, to withstand some of the world’s harshest conditions. With a deck that is larger than two football fields, and a central derrick towering 33 stories above the waterline, the rig is capable of drilling in waters up to 1,640 feet deep, penetrating as far as 25,000 feet into the sea floor. Its quarry: A motherlode buried beneath the remote Chukchi Sea called the Burger Prospect that could, some believe, produce a million barrels of oil a day. Ann Pickard, Royal Dutch Shell’s executive vice president for the Arctic, calls the deposit simply “the prize.”
Shell plans to use Seattle as…
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