Buccaneer delayed on second Cook Inlet test well
A second Cook Inlet offshore exploration well to be drilled by Buccaneer Energy has been delayed by problems in siting its jack-up rig on the seabed, the company said.
Buccaneer will begin moving the Endeavour jack-up rig to a nearby location at its Southern Cross prospect on Oct. 4, said Richard Loomis, a spokesman for Buccaneer. The new drill location is 450 feet southeast of the current location.
Buccaneer is a part owner of the Endeavour rig along with Ezion Holdings, of Singapore, and the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, Alaska’s state investment corporation.
Meanwhile, discussions are underway with the State of Alaska regarding a lease deadline for drilling a third Cook Inlet well at Buccaneer’s North West Cook Inlet prospect. That is not possible now because of the current delay in drilling the Southern Cross prospect.
State regulations typically require a shutdown in November of winter exploration drilling in upper Cook Inlet, where Buccaneer is drilling, because winter ice can accumulate at that time and pose dangers to a jack-up rig.
In a statement, Buccaneer said the settling of the seabed around one of the Eneavour’s legs was detected last week, caused by scouring and strong tidal currents that are common in Cook Inlet.
“After completing the installation of the 30-inch diverter and well control equipment on the conductor pipe, some settling of the rig’s legs into the seabed was noted,” according to the Buccaneer statement. “The rig was leveled and side scan sonar was used to evaluate the seabed conditions evidence of movement of sand behind and around the bottom of the rig legs was observed which is also called scouring.
“This movement is caused by the strong currents during incoming and outgoing tides. The current location was surveyed and approved by various state agencies prior to mobilizing to the location; the current issue is not uncommon in shallow offshore drilling.”
The new drill location has been surveyed using sonar and as an added precaution the company brought in divers to sample the seabed to ensure it is suitable, according to the statement. Once the rig is relocated a new conductor pipe will need to be driven and preparations will be made to commence drilling.
Another company active in Inlet offshore exploration, Furie Operating Alaska, has completed its 2013 summer drill season and will move its jack-up rig, the Spartan 151, into winter moorage at Port Graham, in southern Cook Inlet.
Earlier this summer Buccaneer drilled its first offshore Cook Inlet test well and made a gas discovery at the Cosmo No. 1 well.
The company is also active in onshore Alaska drilling and has the small Kenai Loop gas field now in production on the Kenai Peninsula, south of Anchorage.
Buccaneer has drilled its third Kenai Loop well to 11,396 feet and is currently preparing equipment to do a gas production test from a productive interval at 9,700 feet level. The bottom location appears to be in a section of reservoir separated by a fault from reservoir sections currently being produced with two other wells drilled by Buccaneer. Minor upgrades to the Kenai Loop production facility will be needed if this latest well is productive, and Buccaneer is now engaged in planning those.
In another Kenai Peninsula exploration well, at the West Eagle prospect east of Homer, Buccaneer has received permits from the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and the Department of Environmental Conservation and plans to drill the well as soon as the Glacier drill rig, now working at the Kenai Loop field, is released from that drilling.
It is anticipated that drilling will begin no later than Dec. 1, Buccaneer said.
“All upgrades to the access road (from Homer) have been completed. A conductor pipe has been driven and a water well drilled, so operations are ready to commence once the Glacier drilling rig is moved from the Kenai Loop location,” Buccaneer said in a statement.
Tim Bradner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.