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Vol. 16, No. 20 Week of May 15, 2011
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

Escopeta gets air permit for jack-up rig

Buccaneer Energy receives air quality permit same day; Spartan 151 drilling rig on way for Escopeta, expected in Homer May 25

Kay Cashman

Petroleum News

On May 10, Escopeta Oil and Buccaneer Energy received air quality permits from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation for their Cook Inlet offshore drilling programs.

Escopeta received the permit for the Spartan 151 jack-up drilling rig, specifically for its five-well program in its Kitchen Lights unit. Drilling of the first well, which is expected to have good-sized natural gas and oil targets, will commence in mid-June.

The Spartan 151 jack-up is on its way to Alaska from the Gulf of Mexico, currently headed north in the Pacific Ocean, and expected to arrive May 25 in Homer, Alaska.

Escopeta has the jack-up under lease for two years with the option to renew for another two years. The Houston independent, which recently opened offices in downtown Anchorage, has an option with Spartan to purchase the rig.

Looking for lots of gas

Escopeta President Danny Davis expects to be drilling the first well at the Corsair prospect in the Kitchen Lights unit by mid-June.

“The well is about 2,000 feet southwest of the Shell No. 1 well,” at latitude 60° 56’ 05” N, longitude 1510 09’ 01” W. Davis said May 11 in an interview with Petroleum News. “It’s our greatest chance of finding a large amount of gas, which we know is needed in Southcentral Alaska.”

Kitchen Lights holds four distinct prospects — Corsair, Northern Lights, East Kitchen and Kitchen. The only prospect that has been drilled is Corsair, where Shell, Phillips and ARCO drilled a total of five exploration wells between 1962 and 1993. The wells all had gas shows and some also tested small quantities of oil.

In 2003, Forest Oil, a former owner of the Corsair leases, said that a pre-drill analysis of the prospect indicated it might hold as much 480 billion cubic feet of natural gas and 137 million barrels of oil.

Buccaneer notes importance of permit

In a May 10 press release Buccaneer Energy said its air quality permit was issued for four drilling locations — two in each of its Cook Inlet basin offshore units, Southern Cross and North West Cook Inlet.

“As the air quality permits are the longest lead time permits to obtain, taking a minimum 180 days, this milestone is an important step towards drilling the company’s offshore Cook Inlet projects,” Buccaneer said in its press release.

The Australian independent spud its first well in the Cook Inlet basin onshore in mid-April, about one year after it acquired its first acreage in Alaska. The company is in the process of purchasing a jack-up rig from Transocean.



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