Buccaneer Energy has big plans for a massive oil and gas lease area 21 miles east of Homer. The company plans to bring a drilling rig into the area to begin drilling next spring but some members of the community have questions about the details.
It was in April of last year that Australia-based Buccaneer Energy first started drilling for gas in Alaska – in the Kenai Loop field near Kenai. Now the company has its sights set on a 47,000-acre lease near Homer.
In an October 9th presentation before the Homer City Council, Buccaneer Vice President Mark Landt said the West Eagle site has only seen drilling activity twice before.
Landt says the first West Eagle well will be near the gravel pits off Basargin Road – about 21 miles east of Homer and three miles northwest of Voznesenka and Razdolna. The well is above the treeline at an elevation of about 1,900 feet.
Landt says Buccaneer plans to drill at the well site in the spring of next year. If the well proves successful, the plan would be to build a pipeline west, to existing wells owned by Armstrong Oil and Gas or Hilcorp Energy Company. A 3-D seismic program would also then be executed, to see where future additional wells might be located.
The rig that will be used at West Eagle is the Glacier Drilling Rig, built 11 years ago by Marathon Oil Company specifically for use on the Kenai Peninsula. Some parts of the rig are so large, says Landt, that parts of East End Road will have to be improved to accommodate transporting it out to the site.
That was a point of contention at the council meeting, with council member David Lewis wondering about the cost and safety of so many big trucks suddenly using roads that weren’t meant for heavy traffic.
"The contractor that we will use ... has quite a bit of experience in this area," said Landt. "All of the loads will have escorts."
Landt added that Buccaneer would pay for any improvements to roadways – including East End Road.
Since drilling at West Eagle is not scheduled to begin until next year, Landt said he is not sure how many local people might be employed to work there.
"We will look to Homer residents first for the jobs they are skilled to do," he said.
Landt says Buccaneer is “working on" getting the many necessary permits to begin drilling at West Eagle, including a land use permit form the Kenai Peninsula Borough.
Homer residents will have an opportunity this week to learn more about the West Eagle project – at a pair of public meetings Buccaneer has scheduled.
The first is scheduled for Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Best Western Bidarka Inn and the second will be held Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. at McNeil Canyon Elementary School.
The company has also set up a toll-free number for people to call with questions and concerns – at 855-865-2298.