Parnell signs bill to invest in jack-up
Gov. Sean Parnell signed a bill on May 6 that allows the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority to invest in corporations and limited liability corporations.
The expansion of AIDEA authority gives the public corporation a wider range of investment opportunities, including the ability to invest in a jack-up drilling rig.
On April 1, the AIDEA board of directors unanimously authorized its staff to invest as much as $30 million to help Kenai Offshore Ventures LLC bring a jack-up drilling rig to the Cook Inlet basin, but the two parties have yet to sign the actual agreement.
Kenai Offshore Ventures is a joint venture between the Australian independent Buccaneer Energy Ltd. and the marine company Ezion Holdings Ltd.
AIDEA needed the statutory authority provided by the new law, House Bill 119, to actually make the investment, according to Sharon Leighow, a spokesman for Parnell.
While AIDEA staff and Buccaneer move closer to a deal, Houston-based Escopeta Oil is currently shipping a privately financed jack-up rig, the Spartan 151, to Cook Inlet.
Escopeta has said that it worries about having to compete against the State of Alaska in Cook Inlet, but AIDEA believes the basin can support more than one drilling rig.