Wrangell officials contacted Shell Oil Company last week in hopes that the corporation might consider moving some of their Arctic vessel moorage operations to Wrangell.
Wrangell Borough Assembly Member Julie Decker said Shell, which started drilling for oil in the Arctic this summer, might be moving its drilling fleet away from Portland and Seattle.
“It sounds like they’re actively scoping some Alaskan communities,” Decker said. “Former Gov. Murkowski had actually done a little editorial in the Alaska Dispatch News. And he specifically listed a few communities that are likely, such as Ketchikan, Wrangell, Kodiak, Seward and Dutch Harbor.”
Shell’s Arctic drilling spurred major protests in the Northwest cities where its drilling rigs and support vessels were docked. Protesters in Seattle and Portland formed kayak flotillas and dangled from bridges on ropes to delay some of Shell’s vessels.
That’s why former Alaska governor and U.S. Senator Frank Murkowski thinks Shell should consider moving its moorage operations to Alaska.
He writes, “Why, if Seattle—located 690 miles south of Ketchikan, Alaska’s southernmost city—was found as a satisfactory location to meet Shell’s needs, should they not reduce the distance and consider the capabilities of Alaska’s growing capacities for marine maintenance?”
Wrangell Economic Development Director Carol Rushmore said she put together a packet of information and sent it to Shell last week. She said it is a short, simple rundown of Wrangell’s marine repair and moorage capabilities.
Rushmore added she has not heard back from Shell, and it is still unclear what the Arctic fleet would need from a potential new moorage location.