There is a lot of buzz about a recent Bloomberg report that oil giants BP and ConocoPhillips are discussing an asset swap that may involve Alaska assets.

Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources, says BP may swap some oil assets in the Red Sea with ConocoPhillips, in exchange offering Conoco some of its oil assets in Alaska. It is unknown what those assets might involve.

Former federal natural gas regulator Larry Persily says it's not uncommon right now in the industry for companies to consolidate their holdings. But he says without knowing a lot of specifics about the reported swap, it's hard to tell what ConocoPhillips might get in return.

"If this means Conoco spends money working on the assets that it's getting from BP, money that BP might not have spent, that's great. But we don't know that yet. But you want to be attractive in a very competitive world and if this helps Conoco in its Alaska play and if it's smart for BP then everyone wins," said Persily on Thursday.

BP has interests in eight North Slope fields and operates Prudhoe Bay. It is a minority partner in the neighboring Kuparuk field, operated by ConocoPhillips.

BP Alaska officials wouldn't comment on what they're calling "market rumors."  ConocoPhillips officials in Alaska say "They don't comment on speculation regarding business development activity."

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