HOMER -- Buccaneer Energy has received certification from the American Bureau of Shipping, but needs two more approvals before its jack-up rig Endeavour can leave the Homer dock when the mandatory deadline of March 20 arrives.?
The Homer Port and Harbor set the deadline because it needs to install new fenders at the Deep Water Dock ahead of a season of numerous dockings, said Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins.?
"We're really watching it close, because those fenders are supposed to depart China tomorrow or the next day. They'll be shipped to Seward, then by barge to Homer," Hawkins said. "There's quite a few steps to it."?
Getting to the drill site
The Endeavour's moorage at the dock damaged a 12-by-12-foot timber that Hawkins said had nothing to do with the fender replacement, which is being funded through a grant from the cruise ship head tax. The repair to the timber will be done by a contractor and the bill will go to Buccaneer.
Once the Endeavour leaves the dock, it won't be able to remain in Kachemak Bay. "It can't put its legs down in the bay," Hawkins said, referring to the Critical Habitat Area Plan that spells out prohibitions on jack-up rigs. "They are really focused on getting to the site."
Regulatory work is moving ahead. The American Bureau of Shipping certification is valid for five years.
But to be able to commence operations in Cook Inlet the Endeavour still needs certification from two more organizations. They are:
• The U.S. Coast Guard needs to sign off, certifying that the rig is able to operate safely in U.S. waters. Subcontractor Spartan Drilling has detailed the additional requirements to achieve USCG certification and expects to complete the work in March.
Work has been delayed due to the difficulties of Buccaneer losing its primary contractor, Archer Drilling, in a legal tiff that asks Buccaneer to pay $6 million in unpaid fees for work completed. That case remains unresolved in Texas District Court. Buccaneer denies all the allegations in the lawsuit, contending it has paid its bills to Archer and vendors the company hired.
"The final USCG certification relies on getting access to technical drawings and inspection certifications that were completed during the shipyard work in Singapore and while in Homer. A dialogue with the previous contractor Archer Drilling is ongoing in respect to getting access to this documentation," a press release from Buccaneer said.
• Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission certification affirming that the rig is able to operate safely in Alaska waters. Since the Endeavour's arrival in Homer, the jack-up rig has been undergoing work and regulatory inspections that will allow the vessel to operate in the Cook Inlet.
Safety systems in focus
"There has not been a jack-up rig with the operational capabilities of the Endeavour in the Cook Inlet since the early 1990s, and the company has been working closely with local agencies to comply with the permitting requirements specific to this kind of vessel," the release stated.
The AOGCC's focus is on safety systems and in particular pressure-control systems that operate while drilling, including blowout preventers. The Endeavour has totally refurbished blowout preventers.
The preceding report was first published by the Homer Tribune and is republished here with permission.