Endeavour gets shipping certificate; spill plan delayed

The jack-up rig Endeavour-Spirit of Independence received one of its certifications that will allow it to move soon to the Cosmopolitan oil and gas lease site off Anchor Point. The city of Homer has set a March 20 deadline for the jack-up rig to move because of a fender repair project on the Deep Water Dock.

However, consideration of Buccaneer Energy Alaska’s application for its Oil Spill Contingency Plan, or C-Plan, has been suspended and delayed after the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation on Feb. 28 advised Buccaneer, the managing partner of the rig, it will need additional information. The C-Plan is one of the permits needed to drill at Cosmo.

For Homer’s economy, the delays have brought a boost. Since the Endeavour arrived in Homer in late March, Buccaneer Alaska Energy has spent $10.75 million total on the Endeavour project, including dock fees, said Jay Morakis of JMR Worldwide, the spokesperson for Buccaneer. That does not include money spent by Archer Drilling, the former subcontractor that had worked on the jack-up rig until it parted ways with Buccaneer in December, after a dispute over payment and other issues.

The Endeavour has received full certification from the American Bureau of Shipping, Buccaneer announced in a press release last week. ABS certification is one of the steps needed for the rig to move from Homer and begin work at the Cosmopolitan oil and gas lease site off Anchor Point.

The Endeavour still needs certification from the U.S. Coast Guard to move out of Homer. The jack-up rig is ready for inspection and awaiting a visit from Coast Guard officials, Morakis said.

ABS certification covers most of the Coast Guard requirements. Spartan Drilling, the contractor on the rig, has prepared a scope of work to complete additional requirements. That work should be done by late March, Buccaneer said in its press release. One hangup is getting access to technical drawings and inspection certifications done during shipyard work in Singapore and in Homer.

“A dialogue with the previous contractor, Archer Drilling, is ongoing in respect to getting access to this documentation,” the press release said.

The March 20 deadline for the Endeavour to leave the Deep Water Dock is so Jay-Brant General Contractors of Homer can start work on a $2.5 million fender repair project at the dock, said Homer Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins. Repairs can’t be done with the Endeavour in the way. “They just have to be gone,” Hawkins said.

If the Endeavour isn’t ready to leave by March 20, Buccaneer will work with the city, Morakis said.”We will do whatever we have to do for the harbormaster to do what he needs to do to get the improvements on the dock,” he said.

The Endeavour also needs certification from the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. The oil and gas commission certification looks at drilling safety and pressure control systems such as blowout preventers and drilling mud systems.

State permitting for the Cosmo site had been proceeding, but Buccaneer had a setback when DEC once again asked for more information on its C-plan application. In January, DEC issued a request for additional information on an amended application to Buccaneer’s C-plan. Buccaneer on Feb. 21 filed a response to the DEC’s request, with a comment period closing March 7. Last Thursday, DEC advised Buccaneer that the state would be seeking more information for the application. That letter said DEC would send a second request for additional information and had suspended review of its amended C-plan application. The suspension will be on hold until Buccaneer responds to the second request for more information.

Buccaneer is still waiting for approval on a Plan of Operations from the Department of Natural Resources.

Buccaneer has tentatively scheduled moving the Endeavour to the Cosmo site and starting its first well in late March.

To staff the Endeavour, a crew of 38 is required per shift rotation. Spartan Drilling has hired 76 workers, 21 of whom are Alaskans, the press release said.