Alaska agency to hold public hearing on oil assets sale

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A public hearing on a sale between two oil giants was scheduled despite a request by the companies to approve the transaction without one, oversight committee members said.

The eight-member Regulatory Commission of Alaska was established by Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy to monitor the $5.6 billion sale of BP Plc assets in Alaska to Hilcorp Energy Co.

The committee announced Friday that the hearing will be held on Feb. 4 from 3-9 p.m. at the agency’s offices in downtown Anchorage.

The committee already received about 200 written comments during a comment period that ended in December, but this hearing would “allow additional comment on the applications,” committee members said in a statement signed by Chairman Robert Pickett.

“The comments both supported the transfer of (BP pipeline assets to Hilcorp) and expressed concerns with the transfer,” committee members said.

The hearing will allow the public to comment on the companies’ request to transfer a portion of the 800-mile (1,287-kilometre) trans-Alaska pipeline and other pipeline assets to Hilcorp, officials said.

Texas-based Hilcorp announced plans to buy BP’s Alaska assets in August and expect to finalize the deal next year, committee officials said.

“The (hearing) is totally appropriate and commensurate with the public interest,” policy analyst Phil Wight told Anchorage Daily News. “This is a great chance for the public to have their voice heard.”

BP spokeswoman Meg Baldino declined to comment. Hilcorp officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Associated Press