September 24, 2013 --- Vol. 19, No. 56September 2013

Buccaneer relocating jack-up at Southern Cross

Buccaneer Energy Ltd. said late yesterday that it is relocating the Endeavour jack-up drilling rig some 450 feet southeast of the initial Cook Inlet location due to scouring which caused some settling of the rig’s legs.

The Endeavour was moved to the Southern Cross unit in early September to drill the Southern Cross Unit No. 1 well following completion of the Cosmopolitan No. 1 well.

Buccaneer said installation of the 30-inch diverter and well control equipment on the conductor pipe had been completed at the original drilling site when “some settling of the rig’s legs into the seabed was noted.”

The rig was then leveled and side scan sonar used to evaluate seabed conditions. Buccaneer said “evidence of movement of sand behind and around the bottom of the rig legs was observed which is also called ‘scouring,’” sand movement the company attributed to “the strong currents during incoming and outgoing tides.” The company said the original drilling location had been surveyed and was approved by various state agencies, and added “the current issue is not uncommon in shallow offshore drilling.”

Buccaneer said the new drilling location has been surveyed using sonar and “as an added precaution” drivers were mobilized to sample the seabed to ensure that it would be suitable.

The required state agencies have approved the new location and tugs are being mobilized to move the Endeavor, a move which is expected to take place on or around Sept. 29.


AOGCC will reschedule Prudhoe hearing

The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is considering whether revisions are appropriate to Conservation Order 360, issued in 1995, based on changing circumstances and had scheduled a Sept. 19 hearing on that subject.

Following the commission’s decision in CO 360, Prudhoe Bay field operator BP Exploration (Alaska) has been maximizing production of blendable natural gas liquids. Based on testimony in a 2012 hearing on potential waste of propane at Prudhoe, the commission is now asking if maximizing NGL production actually promotes maximum ultimate recovery, or if BP should be focused on production of miscible injectant for enhanced oil recovery project.

In scheduling the hearing the commission said it was “considering whether changes in circumstances” since CO 360 was issued warrant revision of the conservation order, and said it would be considering whether findings and conclusions in CO 360 remain viable and the effect, “if any,” of an annual average MI volume of less than 600 million cubic feet per day “on ultimate recovery from the Prudhoe Oil Pool.”

Commission Chair Cathy Foerster said Sept. 19 that the hearing had been changed to a prehearing conference, as BP Exploration (Alaska) had requested clarification on what the commission was expecting to learn at a public hearing.

Foerster said her goal was to reschedule the hearing 60 days from Sept. 19.

Attorney Jeff Leppo, representing BP, noted that BP had previously asked to submit prefiled testimony on Dec. 6, citing complications of coordinating testimony among the Prudhoe working interest owners.

Foerster said she would discuss scheduling with the other commissions, but said her feeling was that the companies had engineers looking at reservoir management daily and it shouldn’t take 120 days to answer the commission’s questions. As of this morning the commission had yet to post a new hearing date.


See stories in Sept. 29 issue, available online at 11 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 27, at

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