Oil major Shell could face delays in its bid to return to Arctic drilling after a ruling in Seattle that the city’s port must apply for a permit for the company to use it as a hub for its drilling rigs.
The region has previously been a hub for equipment used in energy drilling in Alaska and could be used as a space as Shell makes its first stride back into the Arctic in three years.
The company has been planning to return to Arctic oil and gas exploration since 2012, however it is still waiting for the US Interior Department to issue a full blessing.
Three years ago, the Coast Guard had to evacuate crew from an enormous oil rig which was eventually grounded and ended up being scrapped.
Shell has been planning to base a drilling rig as well as tug boats in Seattle before it heads to Arctic waters off Alaska.
Seattle’s Mayor, Ed Murray, commended the move.
He said: “This is an opportunity for the port and all of us to make a bold statement about how oil companies contribute to climate change, oil spills and other environmental disasters – and reject this short-term lease.”
A Shell spokesman said the company was still reviewing the Seattle planning department’s move on permit requirements.