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Vol. 16, No. 24 Week of June 12, 2011
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

Escopeta expects to set sail for Alaska with jack-up in 2 weeks

Little has changed since May 29, when the heavy lift vessel carrying a jack-up drilling rig for Escopeta Oil from the Gulf of Mexico to Cook Inlet, reversed direction at Prince Rupert, British Columbia and headed south to Vancouver Island, instead of continuing north to Alaska.

The Chinese heavy lift vessel Kang Sheng Kou offloaded the Spartan 151 jack-up on June 7, departing the region.

Escopeta continues to work with the Department of Homeland Security: The Houston-based independent’s goal is to be told it doesn’t need a Jones Act waiver, obtain a new Jones Act waiver or get its existing open-ended waiver, issued by the Bush administration, recognized by the Obama administration.

The Jones Act forbids the transport of goods between U.S. ports by foreign flagged vessels.

Escopeta President Danny Davis, who said no U.S. flagged vessel was available during the timeframe required to meet his company’s drilling commitments with the State of Alaska, decided to have work done on the rig where it is now docked — at Nanaimo on Vancouver Island — versus at the OSK dock at Nikiski, Alaska.

“We’ll be at Nanaimo, in Canada, working on the rig for about two weeks, getting it ready for drilling,” Davis told Petroleum News June 8. “It’s work we wanted to do in Alaska, using Alaskan workers.”

The Spartan 151 will then be towed to Cook Inlet.

Because it will coming from a foreign port to Alaska, Davis does not expect to need a Jones Act waiver.

Davis ordered the jack-up to Vancouver largely in response to pressure from the owner of the jack-up rig, Spartan Offshore Drilling, after Spartan rejected Homeland’s assurances that when the rig was offloaded in Alaska it would not be confiscated and that only Escopeta would be fined for a Jones Act violation, an amount Homeland was willing to mitigate because of the growing energy shortage in Southcentral Alaska for both military and civilian consumers.

—Kay Cashman



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