Doyon, Hilcorp sign joint Alaska oil, gas exploration deal

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — An Alaska Native Regional Corporation and an energy company will jointly explore the Yukon Flats region for potential oil and gas extraction, officials said.

Doyon Limited and Hilcorp Energy Co. officials agreed to a five-year deal that will include exploration of 2,500 square miles (6,475 square kilometres) of land.

Doyon holds the mineral rights to land around the villages of Birch Creek, Fort Yukon, Beaver, and Stevens Village, said Aaron Schutt, CEO of the Alaska Native corporation.

Much of the remainder of the 15,625 square miles (40,469 square kilometres) in the flats is owned by the federal government and administered as the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge, officials said.

“What we have in place in our agreement with Hilcorp is our ability to talk to them about when and where their activities are, minimizing the amount of impact on the land as much as we can,” Schutt said Monday at Doyon’s Fairbanks headquarters.

The agreement is an opportunity for the state and more than 20,000 Doyon shareholders, Hilcorp Vice-President David Wilkins said.

“We have worked successfully with Doyon over the years both in the Cook Inlet and on the Slope,” Wilkins said. “This agreement opens the door to continue that relationship in the Interior as well.”

Texas-based Hilcorp announced plans in August to buy the Alaska assets of BP for $5.6 billion. The companies expect to finalize the deal next year, giving Hilcorp a major stake in the Prudhoe Bay field and the trans-Alaska pipeline, two major projects in Alaska’s oil industry.

The Associated Press