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With the Fennica Back in Alaska, Here's What Shell Has Planned for the Arctic

Hint: 15 years of drilling.

Getting the icebreaker MSV Fennica out of Portland has unlocked Arctic drilling for Shell Oil.

As WW reported in Wednesday's cover story, the oil giant began drilling in the Chukchi Sea five minutes after the Fennica passed under the St. Johns Bridge and headed back to the Arctic on July 30. The ship had been delayed 12 hours by Greenpeace protesters dangling from the bridge and gaining global attention with a Portland blockade.

The Fennica arrived back in Alaska on Wednesday. That same day, Shell spilled its side of the Fennica standoff to Bloomberg Businessweek.

The story is a profile of Ann Pickard, who runs Shell's Arctic drilling operations. It mentions the Portland standoff only in passing, but offers a ton of information about what Shell plans to do now that it has the Fennica in Alaska.

The big takeaway from Bloomberg's story: The risky drilling operation Shell started last week will take 15 years—working only in the short Arctic summers—before oil starts flowing.

One other memorable detail: Shell had to scale back the number of wells it's drilling because of "noise-sensitive walruses."