BlueCrest Energy representatives updated Kenai Peninsula residents this week on their plans to drill for oil in Cook Inlet. Around 25 people attended a meeting Tuesday evening at Homer Middle School. The company also held meetings in Anchor Point and Ninilchik.
The Cosmopolitan oil fields offshore of Anchor Point are BlueCrest’s target. The company is building a drill pad onshore about 10 miles north of Anchor Point. They plan to drill wells thousands of feet into the ground that will reach two to three miles into Cook Inlet. Larry Burgess, Health Safety Environmental Manager for BlueCrest, says work is ahead of schedule.
“Equipment is showing up every day. Construction is ongoing throughout the day. We have almost 100 people onsite working every day and weather permitting we will be ahead of schedule throughout the whole project,” said Burgess.
The company is keeping a close eye on this winter’s weather. Burgess says inclement weather could ruin their good progress. The company is shooting for first oil by the beginning or end of April next year. Burgess says about 65% of people working the construction site are local hires.
“So we’re employing about 60 people onsite that are local and as we move into the drilling phase all of the people that will be working for drilling are local,” said Burgess.
Burgess says the company will also hire about 30 production personnel from the peninsula. The company has invested about $250 million into the project and they have another $262 million budgeted.
“We’re currently a little over budget, but very little. That’s simply from rig building costs. I should say the budget is on but the schedule is a little behind. Money-wise we are doing well,” Burgess explained.
Burgess admitted BlueCrest is worried about public perception of oil companies after the City of Homer and Homer businesses’ recent conflict with Buccaneer Energy. Buccaneer is an exploration company that tried to develop oil fields in Cook Inlet a couple of years ago, but the company’s bankruptcy jeopardized payments to local businesses. But, Burgess BlueCrest operates responsibly.
“We pay all our bills and we’re going to continue to do so. We’re in good shape financially. We’re not in any danger at all,” Burgess claimed.
BlueCrest expects to eventually drill for 17,000 barrels of oil per day. Drilling is estimated to last for about four years and the company estimates the production phase of the project will continue into the year 2046.