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Shell Says U.S. Inspection of Drifting Rig Won’t Delay Drilling

Royal Dutch Shell Plc said drilling in Alaska’s Arctic waters won’t be delayed by an inspection by U.S. Coast Guard divers of a drilling ship that slipped its mooring and drifted toward shore in the Aleutian Islands.

The Coast Guard will examine Noble Discoverer, a drill ship that Shell plans to use off Alaska’s north coast next month, after the vessel dragged its anchor near Dutch Harbor, Alaska, on July 14. The agency, which said the crew didn’t report any damage, will send divers on July 20 to examine the rig, according to an e-mailed statement.

“The Friday inspection will not delay the Discoverer as it is planned to be in Dutch for two more weeks,” Curtis Smith, a spokesman for Shell, said today in an e-mail. The Noble Discoverer departed from Seattle on June 27 and planned to wait in Dutch Harbor for ice ikn the Arctic to clear.

Shell is waiting for a final permit from the Interior Department to start exploration in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas after investing about $4.5 billion in the fields that may hold more than 20 billion barrels of oil.

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