By Gordy Vernon
Let’s be straightforward. There’s no way Buccaneer can pay for a spill, a leak, or even the stream of debts they have already rung up.
Here’s a snapshot of the company:
An Australian firm, established six years ago, that has never drilled a producing well till they hit 5.1 mcfpd in the Walmart parking lot in Kenai last May (Kenai Loop 1). Their corporate brass can’t even make it from Anchorage to Homer in a late summer storm. Cook Inlet with 40-foot tides, 20-foot seas and mile-long ice floes moving at eight knots presents a lot tougher challenge than drilling in a Kenai lot or getting to Homer.
Buccaneer Energy is a corporation that sells between a nickel and a dime a share. This is the flagship — not one of the many corporations they’ve put up to shield it from liability (Buccaneer Alaska, Kenai Offshore Ventures). Most of its money comes from Singapore bankers, as well as every man woman and child in Alaska, who have paid more than $100 into the Buccaneer scheme (by AIDEA’s claims).
If you were to buy up every last nickel of stock, the State has paid more money for the rig alone than the markets deem Buccaneer Energy’s total value to be worth. To think Buccaneer can clean up an oil spill when its market value is $60 million is ludicrous, as $60 million would buy you a half-day of clean-up on the Gulf Coast. Exxon makes $60 million profit in a half-day, and as Exxon exemplified, you can’t really clean up a spill. When the Spit gets greased with goo, the Singapore bankers’ reputation at the golf club won’t even be slick.
Who cares about local hire? Buccaneer doesn’t even pay for work done. On its one producing well in Kenai, it owed NANA Construction $5.1 million and had paid less than 10 percent of what it owed when NANA slapped a lien on Buccaneer and threatened legal action. Because the City of Kenai had leased the land, the city got involved, fearing a mechanic’s lien, putting Buccaneer on a month-to-month arrangement. The driller of the well, Inlet Drilling, was owed more than a million dollars for nine months and said they would never work for them again.
Conam Construction was paid nearly a year after their work was complete, when Buccaneer finally secured a loan. At the city council meeting in Kenai, one company representative said, “You could probably fill half this room with people they owe money to.”
To put it bluntly, this arrangement is stupid; corporate socialism at its worst. We have corporations from the other side of the planet, with no track record, that seem to be surviving mostly on state loans, screwing your neighbors that work for them and dragging the next town up the road into business quarrels and lawsuits. They can’t make it through a little weather to attend an “open house” that they scheduled, and they’re talking about going out and drilling in a raging Inlet in the winter?
I would like Homer City Council to ask, “If things go wrong, how are you going to pay for it? And if things go right, are you going to pay for it?”
For the rest of us, it’s time we stop coming to the table, cap in hand, saying, “Give us jobs. Give us fracked gas” that we’ll pay $3,300/lot for.
It’s time to tell Buccaneer, “You do this right or we’ll have you swinging from your petard on the flagpole of the country club in Singapore.”
Gordy Vernon is a Homer resident.
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