Stranded Shell drill vessel won’t face state tax

Shell's Kulluk drill rig

Shell Oil’s Kulluk drill rig in Dutch Harbor. Photo courtesy Shell Oil.

The Alaska Department of Revenue says it won’t be charging state property tax on a Royal Dutch Shell PLC drill vessel anchored within a Kodiak Island bay.

Assessor Jim Greeley tells the Kodiak Daily Mirror that the state taxes equipment dedicated to exploration. But he says the Kulluk is dedicated to drilling in federal waters outside state jurisdiction.

Greeley says the tax question was addressed in a 1977 Alaska attorney general’s opinion

The tax came up as drilling critics questioned why Shell moved the barge in late December when the Gulf of Alaska is notoriously rough. The vessel ran aground Dec. 31.

Critics suggested Shell may have been risked the trip to dodge the tax.

Shell says the vessel was on its way to Seattle for maintenance.