Buccaneer contracts jackup to drill in the Cook Island of Alaska

By Phaedra Friend Troy

Bringing the first drilling rig to Alaska's Cook Inlet in more than 16 years, Buccaneer Energy has gained approval from the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) to form a joint venture with Ezion Holdings Limited of Singapore for the joint operatorship of a jackup rig.

"Today's Board action is the culmination of many months of hard work by a dedicated team of people devoted to the successful completion of thorough due diligence and complex negotiations for the benefit of Alaskans," said AIDEA Board Chairman Mike Felix. "We are very pleased to take this important step with Buccaneer, and to move forward with much-needed drilling in the Cook Inlet."

The joint venture has secured a $109.5 million contract to provide a jackup drilling rig to support the offshore oil and gas activities in the Cook Inlet of Alaska for five years.

Drilling and Development

An estimated 13 to 15 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 230 million barrels of oil are contained in the Cook Inlet region of Alaska. Buccaneer holds an estimated 12.7 million barrels of oil equivalent in proven and probable reserves in the wholly owned Southern Cross prospect and a further certified total 60.6 million barrels of oil equivalent in P50 resources in the North West Cook Inlet.

The Southern Cross prospect is a high-impact oil and gas project located in the Cook Inlet in 50 feet of water. Development of the field will include the drilling of four wells tied to the existing Baker Platform at the north end of the Middle Ground Shoal oil field. Production from the development is expected to plateau at 20 million cubic feet of gas per day and 2, 000 barrels of oil a day.

Additionally, Buccaneer hopes to drill and develop its prospect in the North West Cook Inlet, which holds an estimated 1.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The proposed development would include a stand-alone platform with 12 wells and a production capacity of 70 million cubic feet of natural gas a day and 10,000 barrels of oil a day.

Scheduled to commence in 2011, the drilling campaign is expected to create more than 500 jobs for the region.

“AIDEA is perfect for this type of enterprise because its reason for being is to work both public and private sector issues to create jobs, tax bases and opportunities in Alaska,” said Curtis Burton, CEO of Buccaneer Energy.

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