Buccaneer acquires inlet leases

Buccaneer Energy is pushing south with oil and natural gas development in Cook Inlet.

The independent oil and gas company operating onshore in Kenai and offshore the inlet announced Wednesday it has a purchase and sale agreement for two leases in southern Cook Inlet. The leases are in shallow water offshore from Anchor Point and were formerly owned by Pioneer Natural Resources and formerly known as Alaska's Cosmopolitan Unit.

According to Buccaneer's announcement, the company plans to use a drill rig to develop the area in the winter, when other Cook Inlet units are inoperable because of ice.

Buccaneer has said previously it is bringing a jackup rig to the inlet this spring.

Buccaneer is making the lease acquisition with a privately-owned Texas company, BlueCrest Energy II. Buccaneer will have a 25 percent working interest in the project and will act as the operator.

Buccaneer spokesman Dean Gallegos said the ability to operate in the winter would enhance the company's overall profitability.

"The acquisition of our interest in the Cosmo project provides substantial benefits for the company," Gallegos said. "Not only does it significantly increase Buccaneer's oil and gas reserves but it also increases operational utilisation and revenue performance of the Endeavour jack-up rig, demonstrating the strength of our Alaskan strategy."

Buccaneer's development plans for the area call for shallow gas development with the jack-up rig, and deeper oil development with directional onshore wells. According to the company's statement, it will drill an offshore well at the end of 2012 to get a better idea of the oil and gas reserves in the area.

Buccaneer won't be the only new player in the southern Cook Inlet in coming years. Apache Corporation purchased considerable lease acreage in that area last June during a state Department of Natural Resources lease-sale.

The commercial terms of the transaction will remain confidential, but Buccaneer said the acquisition should be settled by March 30.

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