Huge jack-up completes repairs, heads to work in Alaska

KENAI, Alaska (AP) — The Endeavour has finally left Homer.

The 400-foot-tall jack-up rig, one of the largest such rigs in the world, arrived from Singapore in August. The plan was for the $100 million rig to stay a week or two before heading to drill in northern Cook Inlet waters.

But repairs and permitting complications dogged the rig, causing it to miss a drilling window, spend 218 days at the Homer Deep Water Dock and accumulate about $500,000 in harbor fees.

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During that period, Buccaneer Energy and the company hired to prepare and operate the rig, Archer Drilling, parted ways, and a series of lawsuits followed. Spartan Drilling has replaced Archer.

The rig was towed Friday by two Titan tugs, and within an hour it had rounded the Homer Spit and was heading up Kachemak Bay toward the Cosmopolitan oil and gas lease site off Anchor Point, the Peninsula Clarion reported. The massive rig and its three, 410-foot legs would no longer be part of the scenery.

“The view has changed,” said Bryan Hawkins, the Homer harbormaster who was among a small group of residents who watched as the rig left for its drilling assignments.

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In September 2012, the Endeavour had to lower its legs while docked during a storm that was severe enough to snap two of its mooring lines. There were concerns that the rig would not be able to pull its legs up, as was the case with the George Ferris, a Standard Oil-owned jack-up drilling rig that got stuck in Mud Bay in the mid-1970s and had to be freed with explosives.

“It’s moving real slow, but I’m glad it was able to pull its legs up out of the mud and leave the dock,” said Bill Smith, a Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member who watched the action from atop a hill. “I was working on the Spit when the George Ferris started going down.”