Endeavour jack-up rig now at drill site in Cook Inlet
A jack-up rig that has been in harbor in Homer since last fall undergoing modifications was given final clearance by the U.S. Coast Guard on March 29 and departed the harbor for its first Cook Inlet exploration site, a spokesman for the rig owner said.
The rig is now sited at the Cosmopolitan prospect three miles off Anchor Point, on the Kenai Peninsula.
"We were given permission by the Coast Guard to move the rig and permission by the state of Alaska to locate the rig at the site," said Jay Morakis, a spokesman for Buccaneer Energy LLC.
To begin drilling, however, the company must have an oil spill plan approved by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Buccaneer has an approved plan for its planned wells in north Cook Inlet but not for the Cosmopolitan site, which is outside the boundary of the plan that was approved earlier.
The company has asked for a “minor amendment” to the existing spill plan to cover the location. If DEC approves that Buccaneer would begin drilling April 15.
The rig Endeavour, owned by Kenai Offshore Ventures LLC, Buccaneer, an Australian-owned independent, is the principal owner of Kenai Offshore Ventures and also owns state leases at Cosmopolitan and other Cook Inlet leases that are to be drilled later this year by the Endeavour.
Cosmopolitan was discovered and initially tested by ARCO Alaska Inc. several years ago and then sold to Pioneer Natural Resources, which sold it to Buccaneer.
ARCO and Pioneer had to test the deposit with long extended-reach directional wells drilled from shore. Problems in drilling through thick coal seams impeded adequate testing of the prospect, ARCO managers said at the time.
With the rig on site, Buccaneer’s first goal will be to test a shallow natural gas deposit that lies over the oil reservoir.
Partners in the Endeavour rig are Ezion Holdings Inc. of Singapore and the state-owned Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority.
The Endeavour was brought to Cook Inlet from Southeast Asia last fall by the owners but needed substantial work after arriving to obtain American Bureau of Shipping and Coast Guard certifications. Spartan Drilling Co. has been retained to manage the rig and drilling operations.
A second jack-up rig, the Spartan 151 that is owned and operated by Spartan, is also in Cook Inlet and is being mobilized from its winter quarters at Port Graham, a port south of Homer, to continue drilling prospects in north Cook Inlet.
This will be the third season the Spartan rig has operated in the Inlet after arriving in fall, 2011. Spartan is working for Furie Operating Alaska, a Texas-based independent.