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Vol. 16, No. 4 Week of January 23, 2011
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

Alaska Offshore Special Report: Driving force behind bringing a jack-up rig to Alaska

Three individuals have been the driving force behind bringing a jack-up rig to Alaska’s Cook Inlet for oil and gas exploration. Those individuals are Danny Davis, top executive at Escopeta Oil, and Mark Landt and Dave Doherty of Renaissance Alaska.

Both parties, Davis with Escopeta and Landt and Doherty with Renaissance and other companies, have been pushing hard for more than a decade to get the funds to bring a jack-up to the inlet to drill three major prospects — East Kitchen and Kitchen for Escopeta and Northern Lights for Landt and Doherty.

Currently, all three prospects are part of the Escopeta-operated Kitchen Lights unit, a deal that was entered into in 2009 to give leaseholders more time to get a jack-up to Alaska.

The Corsair unit and its proposed expansion acreage are also included in the Kitchen Lights unit and will be the site of the first well Escopeta will drill in 2011 with the Spartan 151 jack-up, currently being winterized in Galveston, Texas, for work in Cook Inlet.

Several companies have owned the Corsair prospect, but none have the years of effort behind them that Davis, Landt and Doherty do.

Landt, Doherty and Northern Lights

Following is a list of the companies that have owned Landt and Doherty’s Northern Lights prospect:

Epic Oil and Gas, Saddleback Resources, Prodigy Oil and Gas, Rutter & Wilbanks, Renaissance Alaska, Escopeta

In 2009, Renaissance and Rutter and Wilbanks transferred a 100 percent working interest in their Northern Lights leases to Escopeta for inclusion in the Kitchen Lights unit, but each company kept a small overriding royalty interest on the leases.

Renaissance transferred its remaining Cook Inlet acreage to Stellar Oil and Gas, a sister company made up of the same investors and executives, a way to focus fundraising efforts for its remaining offshore and onshore inlet acreage.

Those retained leases included prospects at Middle Ground Shoal and Northwest Cook Inlet.

In March 2010, Stellar turned around and sold its remaining Cook Inlet acreage to Australian independent Buccaneer Resources, a newcomer to Alaska, which has since added to its inlet acreage.

With their original proposed Northern Lights unit now part of Escopeta’s Kitchen Lights unit, Landt and Doherty, currently part of Buccaneer’s team, are focusing on other onshore and offshore Cook Inlet prospects, some of which are close to the Kitchen Lights unit (see map on page 18). They continue to work hard to bring a jack-up rig to Alaska as part of Buccaneer (see article on page 1 of Petroleum News about the two Cook Inlet jack-up projects).

— Alan Bailey



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