Oil company seeks to keep records closed in Alaska buyout

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Some Alaskans are calling for greater financial transparency from Hilcorp Energy Co., the company seeking to buy BP’s North Slope assets, officials said.

Hilcorp asked the Regulatory Commission of Alaska to allow recent years of financial records to remain confidential, The Anchorage Daily News reported Sunday.

BP announced plans in August to sell its Alaska assets, including the Prudhoe Bay oil field, to Hilcorp for $5.6 billion. The companies expect to finalize the deal next year.

The regulatory commission is responsible for the aspects of the transaction involving the 800-mile (1,287-kilometre) trans-Alaska oil pipeline.

The sale would give Hilcorp a 48% stake in the pipeline and operator Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, which is a larger share than pipeline co-owners ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil.

The privately held company based in Houston said financial disclosure could hurt its competitive advantage.

Public comments filed with the regulatory commission indicate some residents want Hilcorp to open its records to ensure it has the means to respond to a costly accident in the region that includes the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

There is less information available about Hilcorp than publicly traded companies such as BP, ConocoPhillips or Exxon Mobil Co., skeptics of the sale said.

“We need to see their finances because they will become the most important oil and gas company in Alaska, full stop,” said Phil Wight, who is studying the proposal for the Alaska Public Interest Research Group, a consumer rights group.

Others have applauded the deal they believe can boost Alaska’s economy by increasing exploration and squeezing more life out of the oil fields.

Republican state Senate President Cathy Giessel said the sale will bring “substantial positive benefits” in the form of jobs, investment, oil production and state and local revenue.


Information from: Anchorage Daily News,

The Associated Press