As Onshore Work Begins, Shakeups at Buccaneer

     Residents out East End Road near Homer may have noticed several very large pieces of equipment being trucked down the road a couple of weeks ago. When they are put back together again, those pieces form the Glacier drilling rig, a 13-year-old rig that was, until recently, drilling near the Kenai Wal-Mart.

     The rig is owned and operated by Buccaneer Energy, the Australian oil and gas company that brought the Endeavor jack-up rig to Cook Inlet in 2012. The Glacier rig fits into the company’s on-shore plans for West Eagle, a massive lease area near the gravel pits off Basargin Road – about 21 miles east of Homer.

     At last week’s meeting of the Homer City Council, Buccaneer representative Christina Anderson gave a brief update on West Eagle, saying she had visited the site and the nearby Russian Old Believer villages.

     The move of the Glacier rig was a big one, said Anderson, necessitating the help of the Alaska Department of Transportation.

     "We worked with DOT to make road improvements at Miles 15 and 16 on East End Road," said Anderson. "We hauled camp buildings and water to our site and we contracted many local vendors during the shoulder season here in Homer."

     Buccaneer plans to work on 47,000 acres of state lease land at West Eagle. Anderson says Buccaneer has secured the water and fuel contracts it needs to get started.

     Anderson also thanked the council for passing a resolution that clearly lays out a city policy regarding the presence of drilling rigs at the Homer harbor. The resolution was passed unanimously on the council’s consent agenda without any discussion. It states that all oil and gas drilling rigs “are welcome and encouraged to use the City of Homer Port and harbor facilities.”

     Anderson did not say whether or not the Endeavor rig would be appearing in Homer again this winter but she did mention that the rig is currently undergoing maintenance work in Port Graham.

     Anderson did not return follow-up calls in time for this story. 

     While Buccaneer works to get things going at the West Eagle site, there has been a shake-up in its Alaska leadership. In a letter posted on the company’s website Monday, CEO Curtis Burton announced that Buccaneer Alaska President Jim watt had been “terminated” and replaced with Chief Operating Officer Andy Rike. 

     Allen Huckabay was also let go as Buccaneer’s Vice President of Exploration and Development.

     In a telephone message left for KBBI after this story was produced, Anderson said the under a company “re-organization” that took place Friday, she was also let go.No reason was given for the firings.

     Representatives at Buccaneer’s Kenai office declined to speak to the media, referring all questions to the New York-based public relations firm JMR Worldwide, which did not respond in time for this story.