Buccaneer temporarily moves jack-up rig to Port Graham

Although Homer city officials said they hoped the jack-up rig Endeavour-Spirit of Independence would moor at the Deep Water Dock this winter, the rig has moved to English Bay near Port Graham, Dean Gallegos, executive chairman of Buccaneer Energy Limited, said in a press release on Tuesday. The Endeavour joins Furie Alaska’s jack-up rig, the Blake 151, at Port Graham. 

After winterization work and annual hull inspections, Buccaneer plans to move the Endeavour in late November back to the Cosmopolitan site in lower Cook Inlet off Stariski, the drilling site it worked this spring and summer, Gallegos said. He said the Cosmo site is considered ice free. Buccaneer plans to drill one or two wells this winter. Buccaneer is working to get final permits to spud the Cosmopolitan number 2 well, but does not yet have them.

The Endeavour had been at the Southern Cross Unit in upper Cook Inlet. Buccaneer had seen some settling of the rig’s legs, Gallegos said, and side-scan sonar showed movement of sand behind and around the bottom of the rig legs.

Bob Shavelson, the Inletkeeper with Cook Inletkeeper, said that raised concerns about the jack-up rig’s stability.

“If you’ve got a three-legged rig and one of the legs starts to subside, you’ve got that lack of stability,” he said.

A new drilling site in the Southern Cross Unit had been identified for further exploration, but given the limited drilling time before the end of the summer-fall drilling season, Buccaneer moved the Endeavour to Port Graham, Gallegos said. The drilling season ends Oct. 31.

If the Endeavour goes to the Cosmo site, that should still benefit the city, said Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins.

“As long as they’re in the lower inlet, we’ll see business from their fleet tugs,” he said. 

Rig tenders will still visit the Deep Water Dock to take on fuel, supplies and crew, Hawkins said, business that results in moorage and other tariff fees.

“Longshoreman are smiling because they’re working,” he said. “The dock’s seeing business. That’s very much in keeping with the whole purpose of it being there, in many ways more than long-term moorage of the rig.”

Shavelson questioned the wisdom of overwintering at Stariski.

“We think that’s a recipe for disaster to have a jack-up rig stationed off Anchor Point in the winter time. You can see from the recent storm we get exceptional winds,” he said, referring to Wednesday’s storm that saw 35-knot winds and 8-foot seas in lower Cook Inlet.

Homer City Manager Walt Wrede said earlier he understood Buccaneer would have needed a permit from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to put its legs down at the Deep Water Dock. The city wrote a letter of support for a permit application, but Buccaneer did not apply for a permit, said Ginny Litchfield, Kenai Peninsula Area manager, Fish and Game, Division of Habitat. 

English Bay is not a critical habitat area and thus Fish and Game permits are not needed, Litchfield said.

Buccaneer also is negotiating with the Alaska Department of Resources to drill again in the Southern Cross unit. A unit agreement to drill there expires on Oct. 31. 

If Buccaneer gets permission to return to Southern Cross, the Endeavour would start drilling after April 15, 2014.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

More in News

Coast Guardsmen and state employees load the Together Tree bound for the Alaska Governor’s Mansion on a truck on Nov. 29, 2021 after the Coast Guard Cutter Elderberry transported the tree from Wrangell. (USCG photo / Petty Officer 2nd Class Lexie Preston)
Governor’s mansion tree arrives in Juneau

No weather or floating lines could stay these Coast Guardsmen about their task.

The Kenai Community Library health section is seen on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. The Kenai City Council voted during its Oct. 20 meeting to postpone the legislation approving grant funds after members of the community raised concerns about what books would be purchased with the money, as well as the agency awarding the grant. The council will reconsider the legislation on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai council to consider library grant again

The council earlier voted to postpone the legislation after concerns were raised about what books would be purchased.

EPA logo
Alaska Native group to receive EPA funds for clean water projects

The agency is handing out $4.3 million to participating tribal organizations nationwide.

Study: PFD increases spending on kids among low-income families

New study looks at PFD spending by parents

Image via the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
Nikiski soil treatment facility moves ahead

The facility, located at 52520 Kenai Spur Highway, has drawn ire from community residents.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Bycatch becomes hot issue

Dunleavy forms bycatch task force.

Rep. Chris Kurka, R-Wasilla, leaves the chambers of the Alaska House of Representatives on Friday, March 19, 2021, after an hour of delays concerning the wording on his mask. On Monday, Kurka announced he was running for governor in 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Wasilla rep announces gubernatorial bid

Kurka said he was motivated to run by a sense of betrayal from Dunleavy.

The Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson star is Illuminated on the side of Mount Gordon Lyon on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, just east of Anchorage, Alaska, in observation of the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. A crew from the base went to light the 300-foot wide holiday star, but found that only half of the star’s 350 or so lights were working, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Airmen from the 773rd Civil Engineer Squadron Electrical Shop haven’t been able to figure out what was wrong and repair the lights, but they plan to work through the week, if necessary, base spokesperson Erin Eaton said. (Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News via AP)
Avalanche delays holiday tradition in Alaska’s largest city

ANCHORAGE — A holiday tradition in Alaska’s largest city for more than… Continue reading

AP Photo/Gregory Bull,File
In this Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, photo, George Chakuchin, left, and Mick Chakuchin look out over the Bering Sea near Toksook Bay, Alaska. A federal grant will allow an extensive trail system to connect all four communities on Nelson Island, just off Alaska’s western coast. The $12 million grant will pay to take the trail the last link, from Toksook Bay, which received the federal money, to the community of Mertarvik, the new site for the village of Newtok. The village is moving because of erosion.
Federal grant will connect all 4 Nelson Island communities

BETHEL — A federal grant will allow an extensive trail system to… Continue reading

Most Read