State extends public comment period for BP sale to Hilcorp

    Anchorage, Alaska (AP) - Alaska regulators have granted a second extension for public comment on the sale of BP’s North Slope assets to Hilcorp Energy Co., officials said.

    The Regulatory Commission of Alaska announced an extension through Dec. 13, KTVA-TV reported Monday.

    The Alaska House and Senate resources committees are scheduled to hold a hearing on the sale Dec. 16, although BP and Hilcorp representatives are not expected to testify.

    BP announced plans in August to sell its Alaska assets to Hilcorp for $5.6 billion and 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-kilometer) 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 commission announced the comment extension on its website last week, one day before the first extension expired. More than 100 comments have been filed.

    Many expressed concerns over Hilcorp’s request to keep its financial statements confidential. The privately held company based in Houston said financial disclosure could hurt its competitive advantage.

    Francis Mauer of Fairbanks wrote that the extension should be 90 days so the transaction can be “rigorously examined.”

    “Does Hilcorp have the financial resources and commitment to responsibly operate the former BP facilities in Alaska at a level to assure safety and environmental protection in our State,” Mauer questioned.

    David Cruz, president of oil field services contractor Cruz Construction, wrote in support of the sale.

    “We have worked alongside many of the oil industry’s big players, but Hilcorp distinguishes itself with its high work standards, environmental and safety practices, and strategic investments in Alaska’s future,” Cruz said.

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