Public gets more time to comment on Hilcorp's BP purchase
The state’s utility regulator has extended a public comment period on the multibillion-dollar sale of BP’s assets to Hilcorp, giving Alaskans until 5 p.m. Nov. 15 to submit feedback.
The 21-day period was scheduled to end Friday, but late Thursday the Regulatory Commission of Alaska extended the deadline.
The RCA oversees the performance of utilities and pipeline owners, including rates and operations. It’s reviewing a portion of the sale that would include owning three pipelines, including the trans-Alaska oil pipeline.
The pipelines transfer is part of the broader transaction that calls for Hilcorp purchasing BP’s assets for $5.6 billion, a deal expected to close sometime next year.
Hilcorp’s Justin Furnace said in a emailed statement that the company has no problem with the extension.
"We respect the Regulatory Commission of Alaska’s decision to extend the comment period and we look forward to continuing to work with them," he wrote. "Hilcorp has a proven track record of responsible production in Alaska and has brought new life to what were once declining oil and gas assets in both the Cook Inlet and the North Slope. Our acquisition will allow us to continue to build upon this record of success with great benefits for the state and its citizens."
Only a few comments had been submitted to the RCA until Thursday when residents filed responses to the privately held Hilcorp’s request to keep its financial statements confidential."
The company cited previous RCA confidentiality rulings when writing “the need for confidentiality outweighs the public interest in disclosure of any Financial Statements, and good cause exists to classify the information as confidential.”
Others, however, believe transaction is too big for confidentiality.
Fairbanks' Karl Monetti listed three concerns in a Thursday filing with the RCA:
"1. Being a privately held company [Hilcorp] would not be required to make public its financials. How do we know they would have the resources to clean up any spills or to disassemble the pipeline once the oil stops flowing?
2. As an LLC they would not have to pay corporate state taxes, or possibly property taxes to the several boroughs the pipeline crosses, costing the state and local governments many millions of tax dollars.
3. [Hilcorp] has an abysmal safety, spill-response, and regulatory compliance record.”
“Hilcorp is a large enterprise with the financial resources to safely and responsible operate all of the developments we invest in," Furnance wrote. "We meet or exceed all regulatory requirements for each and every project we undertake, and safety and environmental stewardship are core business principles that we employ in the consideration, planning, development and operation of any project we undertake. Also, it is important to note that TAPS will continue to be operated by Alyeska."
House Resources Committee Co-Chair Rep. Geran Tarr, D-Anchorage, said the period should be extended 90 days and the Legislature should be allowed to hold hearings.
“At this time, so much is unknown about this sale and the impact it will have for decades to come," she said. "The [Legislature] hasn’t had time to hold any hearings on these matters and the public hasn’t had an opportunity to weigh in.”
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