Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, says she's not surprised at BP's decision to sell its North Slope assets to privately held Hilcorp. She says it's been nearly 40 years since any major change has taken place with the players on Alaska's North Slope and global markets will eventually drive change.

Murkowski was in Anchorage on Wednesday after visiting rural communities in Western Alaska with U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette for several days.

"I think at first blush it can be a little bit rattling," said Murkowski, the senior senator who also serves as the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chairman. "What does this mean? I think it’s important to put it into perspective in a bigger picture. You look at transition within any industry. It is not surprising that after four decades you would see a level of transition."

"I think for us as Alaskans, me as an Alaskan, and me in my capacity as the Energy Chairman, I want to make sure that this is going to be a change that is good for my state, good for the people that I work for and also good for the country, making sure that we’re able to continue accessing extraordinary resources up there, doing so in a way that is strong environmentally and strong from a safety perspective."

Murkowski added she's not worried that BP is fleeing the state with the $5.6 billion deal.

"They are looking at their global structure, their global assets, with a recognition that they haven’t been spending as much time and focus on their Alaska assets," she said,  "and so if they can’t give that the dedication that it needs because of the extraordinary resource, maybe Alaska can be better served if you have a company that will come in and give it that 100%."

"So yes, I am confident that they’re not fleeing. They’re making a business judgment decision in terms of how they operate globally and the level at which they operate globally."

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