The Polar Pioneer drilling rig. Image courtesy of Shell/Flickr.

Transocean said Monday that Royal Dutch Shell has chosen to terminate its contract for the Polar Pioneer rig about seven months early.

The company said that it will be compensated for the early termination through a lump-sum payment that includes adjustments for reduced operating costs and demobilization to Norway.

The contract for the harsh environment semisubmersible Polar Pioneer was set to expire in July 2017 and has a day rate of $593,000.

The Polar Pioneer was a key component of Shell’s disappointing Arctic campaign earlier this year and became a frequent target of protests.

A group of Greenpeace activists illegally boarded the rig in April as it traveled from Hawaii to Alaska’s Chukchi Sea.

Seattle city councilman Mike O’Brien was among two dozen protesters arrested by the U.S. Coast Guard in June for attempting to block the Polar Pioneer from leaving the Port of Seattle.

Earlier that month a group of protesters calling themselves the “Raging Grannies” were also arrested for blocking entrances into the port in an effort to delay the rig’s deployment.

The Polar Pioneer, along with the Noble Discoverer drilling rig, left Alaska in early October after Shell’s long-awaited Arctic campaign failed to turn up sufficient reserves to warrant further exploration.

Last week, Shell canceled its contract with the Noble Corporation for the Noble Discoverer drilling rig.

Noble Corporation said in its latest fleet status report that Shell terminated its contract for “convenience.”

Shell will pay Noble for the remaining contract term at 90 percent of the rig’s operating dayrate, adjusted for certain items.


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