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Alaska can be a rugged and unforgiving place, and that’s not just its landscape. Its economy is prone to big booms and wrenching busts. Lately, it has seen more busts.
Oil prices in Alaska have surged to their highest levels in a decade. But job numbers in the oil and gas industry have barely budged upward after they crashed during the COVID-19 pandemic, even as other sectors of the economy enjoy a solid rebound. Industry observers in Alaska give several reasons for the tepid job growth in the oil patch. They say it mirrors a trend in the industry nationally, a slow recovery that breaks from past practice. Companies, increasingly flush with cash, aren’t investing in oil field activity like they once did when the good times rolled. They say companies are now more likely to question big, long-term projects, as investors raise concerns about the industry’s past performance and new regulations that could result from climate change policies.
Oil supermajor, bp Plc has informed about concluding the sale of its Prudhoe Bay oil and gas producing assets to Hilcorp Energy, ending a 60-year streak of being the top Alaskan oil producer. The $5.6 billion deal, which also includes bp’s stake in the Trans Alaska Pipeline System, is estimated to wrap up this quarter, both companies said in statements.
Oil supermajor, BP has agreed to trade its entire business in Alaska to Hilcorp Alaska for $5.6 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, the deal will gain Hilcorp the ownership to BP's entire upstream and midstream business in the state, including BP Exploration (Alaska) and BP Pipelines (Alaska). The Alaskan business farm out is in line with BP’s strategy to divest $10 billion of assets over 2019 and 2020.
Italian oil major, Eni has reached an agreement with Caelus Natural Resources Alaska LLC to acquire 70% stakes in Alaska’s Oooguruk oil field. Eni already has 30% stakes in the field, and will now gain complete ownership and operatorship of the field. With the acquisition of Oooguruk, Eni’s production from Alaska will be boosted by approximately 7,000 bopd gross.
The Houston-based E&P giant, ConocoPhillips is believed to be in contact with BP Plc to move forward with an asset swap deal. This agreement will eventually lead to BP taking over the Clair field asset, UK, while ConocoPhillips acquiring BP’s assets in the Alaskan region. However, no final resolutions have been reached between the companies and discussions might end with no results.