Sunday, May 19, 2013
Escopeta Oil Jack-Up Rig Arrives in Cook Inlet
The rig comes from the Gulf of Mexico where it was loaded onto a Chinese heavy-lift vessel and shipped around the tip of South America to Vancouver, B.C. before arriving in Cook Inlet this week.
The first jack-up oil drilling rig to arrive in Alaska in more than a decade dropped anchor Sunday in Kachemak Bay.
It’s been a long road north for the Spartan 151 rig, and officials from Escopeta Oil Company said it hasn’t been easy.
"We started in early January, preparing it for working in a harsh environment,” said Jerry Cloud, Escopeta drilling superintendent.
The rig comes to Alaska from the Gulf of Mexico where it was loaded onto a Chinese heavy-lift vessel and shipped around the tip of South America.
"It had to pull into a port in Uruguay where they braced the legs and re-welded some of the welds,” said Bruce Webb, vice president of governmental and external affairs.
From there, it traveled north to Vancouver, B.C, where it ran into legal trouble.
Maritime officials claimed it violated the federal Jones Act, which requires all goods shipped between U.S. ports to be carried on U.S. flagged ships.
“The attorneys and everyone are negotiating that with Homeland Security right now,” Webb said. “We think it's taken care of."
Despite the ongoing talks with federal authorities, Webb said they had no choice.
"We had insurance through Lloyd's of London, and they wouldn't insure it for a barge trip,” Webb said. “It had to be on a moveable vessel."
With an Oct. 31 drill deadline looming, the trip north is now a race against time, but Cloud said the potential payoff is well worth the risk.
"If we're successful with this one, we get it down, we're successful with this, it's going to continue to spread,” Cloud said.