SPOTD: Western Towboat’s CAT-Powered Tugs Haul the Endeavour, Spirit of Independence to Cook Inlet, AK

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April 3, 2013

Buccaneer Energy reports that the Endeavour, Spirit of Independence jack-up rig was successfully mobilized at the Cosmopolitan field in Cook Inlet, AK after receiving final approval from the U.S. Coast Guard.

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The LeTourneau Class 116-C jack-up rig left the Homer, AK on March 29th under tow by three ocean going tugs owned and operated by Western Towboat Company, which included two CAT-powered 6,000HP z-drive Titan class tugs (Arctic & Alaska Titans) and the 4,500hp conventional tug, Ocean Ranger, in a triple tow configuration.

Once a weather window opened up, the vessels got under way in about 35 knots of wind with 7 to 9-foot seas.  With a combined bollard pull capacity of 410,000 pounds, the group arrived safely at their destination 8 1/2 hours later on March 30th.

The Cosmo field is located approximately 30 miles to the north west of Homer.
The Cosmo field is located approximately 35 miles to the north west of Homer.

Prior to departure, the Endeavour was examined by Coast Guard inspectors in Homer and received a Certificate of Compliance, which certifies that the rig is able to operate safely within United States waters. The examinations included verifications of the MODUs’ documentation, safety equipment and machinery installations and witnessing fire and abandon ship drills. The Certificate of Compliance is valid for two years.

Now on location at the Cosmo field, the Endeavour will need to be inspected and certified by the Alaskan Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC) prior to commencing drilling operations. The AOGCC inspection will focus on drilling safety systems and particularly pressure control systems that operate while drilling, i.e. mud systems and blowout preventers.

Partners in the Endeavour jack-up are Singapore’s Ezion Holdings Inc. and the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority.

The Cosmopolitan field in Cook Inlet was jointly acquired in August 2012 by Fort Worth, TX-base BlueCrest Energy II and Buccaneer – split 75/25, respectively – with Buccaneer acting as operator in the project.

As of April 2nd, the Endeavor’s legs have been jacked down and secured to the seabed in approximately 84 feet of water. Buccaneer also says that pre-loading operations were successful and the rig has been jacked up to its operating height of 45 feet above sea level.

The Endeavour’s crews will spend the next 10 to 14 days preparing for drilling operations, based on certification by the AOGCC.

Returning to Cook Inlet for a third season in a row is Spartan Drilling’s Spartan 151 jack-up.

The Spartan 151 will mobilized at the Kitchen Lights Unit, which is operated by Furie Operating Alaska, LLC. In 2011, the Spartan 151 drilled the first exploration well (Kitchen Lights Unit #1) to a depth of 8,800 feet and had a major natural gas discovery. At the time, the rig was the first jack-up to drill in Cook Inlet in 20 years. The Spartan 151 has also received final approval from the U.S. Coast Guard, however it’s mobilization is believed to have been delayed due to sea ice.

Cook Inlet stretches 180 miles from the Gulf of Alaska to Anchorage in south-central Alaska. Approximately 400,000 people live within the Cook Inlet watershed. As of 2012 there were 16 platforms in Cook Inlet, the oldest of which was first installed by Shell in 1964, according to data from Furie Operating Alaska.

Photos via Western Towboat Company

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