Oil-drilling rig will create jobs, but not so many year-round ones
The Port of Seattle said mooring Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling rigs at Terminal 5 would create several hundred jobs. But nearly half of those jobs are either Shell workers who will head to Alaska, or people already working for Shell, the local contractor or the Port.
When the Port of Seattle’s plan to moor Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling rigs at Terminal 5 was announced, a key selling point was the jobs that would be created.
The Port said it would mean hundreds of jobs. Shell’s contractor, Foss Maritime, said last month that 417 jobs had been created in the Puget Sound region. And after the massive, 307-foot-tall Polar Pioneer arrived, the Port said the impact was even higher — 461 direct jobs.
But a closer look shows nearly half involve either Shell exploration workers who will head north with the rigs, or people who were already on the payroll of the oil company, its local contractor or the Port.
The Terminal 5 deal meant new work for John Demaree and a six-person crew at his maintenance company in West Seattle. Since Foss Maritime signed the lease with the Port of Seattle, Demaree Services has helped renovate Terminal 5’s old Eagle Marine Services building, setting up lights, rewiring, fixing toilets and turning on phones.
Demaree said he hopes the work will continue for four years, but he wonders what will happen after next month’s hearing on whether the Port needs a new land-use permit.
He’ll be at Terminal 5 “for as long as the mayor wants me to be fully employed, I guess,” Demaree said Tuesday.
Mayor Ed Murray and city officials say the Shell work violates Terminal 5’s current land-use permit. Environmentalists, meanwhile, are trying to stall work on the rigs so the equipment can’t leave on time to drill in the Arctic during a narrow summer exploration season. The latest protest Tuesday resulted in five arrests.