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November 09, 2006 --- Vol. 12, No. 79November 2006

Escopeta reschedules drilling

Escopeta Oil said Nov. 8 that the company is still working to bring a jack-up rig to Alaska’s Cook Inlet to drill its Kitchen prospects, but that the sailing date has been delayed from late 2006 to April of next year.

The company also said it was rescheduling its onshore Cook Inlet basin drilling at the North Alexander prospect from this winter to next winter due to logistics problems.

Escopeta said the refurbishment of the jack-up in Port Arthur, Texas, by the former owner Songa Drilling “has taken much longer than anticipated.”

“The delay has left Escopeta and the heavy-lift vessel owners to renegotiate for another window in which the ship will be available to sail with the Tellus,” Escopeta said in its Nov. 8 release.

Escopeta said it is in a “solid position with respect to its contract with Songa” Drilling, former owner of the Tellus.

“Escopeta’s position has been made stronger by the fact that the U.S. market for jack-up rigs has softened somewhat; in fact, once Escopeta had its Jones Act waiver in hand and Songa missed the June delivery date, other companies have offered quality jack-up rigs to Escopeta for its Cook Inlet drilling program,” Escopeta said.

In regard to its North Alexander plans, the company said it will “complete unitization” of the prospect’s leases, but is rescheduling its drilling program, “pushing the ice-road/ice-pad operation into late fall 2007.”

Escopeta said “a recent cold snap” sent “a sudden surge of river ice” into Cook Inlet that “makes the beach landing questionable.”

Supply and demand, the company said, was also a factor.

“An active drilling season in Alaska is snapping supplies and equipment off the market, increasing procurement time. Under these conditions loading the boat could take two weeks or more.”

Note: see story in Nov. 12 issue of Petroleum News, available online Friday, Nov. 10 at noon.

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