Buccaneer spuds first well at Cosmo site

Buccaneer Energy has spudded its first well with the Endeavour-Spirit of Independence jack-up rig nine months after it arrived in Alaska waters from Singapore.

Buccaneer, which recently received the thumbs-up to drill from the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, started drilling at the Cosmopolitan prospect Sunday, the company announced in a press release.

The Cosmo area is located in 80 feet of water close to Anchor Point and is known for its shallow gas reserves and deeper oil prospects. Buccaneer is working on the project with BlueCrest Energy, a Fort Worth, Texas-based company that has a 75 percent working interest in the area. Buccaneer has a 25 percent working interest at Cosmo, but is the operator.

Buccaneer plans to drill the Cosmo No. 1 well to a targeted depth of 8,000 feet, which it expects to take 45 days to drill and test, it said in the release. 

Buccaneer said it would take oil core samples to augment existing reservoir data to help shape a future oil development plan. The company said it does not plan to flow test the oil formation, however.

“On completion of drilling and logging operations, the well will be plugged back to the bottom of the Tyonek gas formation,” the company said in its release. “Gas zones within the Tyonek formation that are identified as potentially commercial through drilling and logging will then be perforated and flow tested.

“If successfully tested, the well will be temporarily abandoned as a future gas producer.”

Buccaneer had intended the rig to stay in Homer only a few days after it arrived in Cook Inlet in August 2012. The rig, plagued by delays and repairs, was forced to stay in Homer for 218 days and racked up about $500,000 in harbor fees. Buccaneer and its contractor Archer Drilling eventually parted ways and have since sued each other over the delays forced on the rig. 

Spartan Drilling, which also operates Furie’s Blake 151 rig, has taken over as the Endeavour’s operator.

Cathy Foerster, chair of the AOGCC, said commission crews will return to monitor the rig as it drills to make sure its equipment is working correctly. Foerster said that is normal procedure for new drilling rigs.

“We just want to make sure things are running the way they are supposed to run,” she said. “A rig that has been out there and has proven itself to be drill-worthy is one thing, but something that has never operated, we just have to make sure it does.”

Brian Smith is the city editor and a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion.