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BP to Sell Alaska Business to Hilcorp

Aug 27, 2019 | Oil & Gas

Aerial view of BP Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay operations.

BP

BP announced that it has agreed to sell its entire business in Alaska to Hilcorp Alaska, based in Anchorage. Under the terms of the agreement, Hilcorp will purchase all of BP’s interests in the state for a total consideration of $5.6 billion.

The sale will include BP’s entire upstream and midstream business in the state, including BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., that owns all of BP’s upstream oil and gas interests in Alaska, and BP Pipelines (Alaska) Inc.’s interest in the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS).

Bob Dudley, BP group chief executive, said: “Alaska has been instrumental in BP’s growth and success for well over half a century and our work there has helped shape the careers of many throughout the company. We are extraordinarily proud of the world-class business we have built, working alongside our partners and the State of Alaska, and the significant contributions it has made to Alaska’s economy and America’s energy security.

“However, we are steadily reshaping BP and today we have other opportunities, both in the US and around the world, that are more closely aligned with our long-term strategy and more competitive for our investment. This transaction also underpins our two-year $10 billion divestment program, further strengthening our balance sheet and enabling us to pursue new advantaged opportunities for BP’s portfolio within our disciplined financial framework.

“As a highly capable operator with extensive Alaskan experience, Hilcorp is ideally placed to take this important business on into the future, continuing to optimize its performance and maximize its value for the State of Alaska. We are committed to a safe and smooth transition of operations so that our employees, partners and local, state, and federal government officials all feel that we have handed over these important assets in the right way.”

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Under the terms of the agreement, Hilcorp will pay BP a total consideration of $5.6 billion, comprising $4.0 billion payable near-term and $1.6 billion through an earnout thereafter. Subject to state and federal regulatory approval, the transaction is expected to be completed in 2020. The deal forms a significant part of BP’s plan to divest $10 billion of assets over 2019 and 2020.

Janet Weiss, regional president, BP Alaska, added: “Today’s announcement marks the start of an exciting new chapter for Prudhoe Bay. Alaska has been a core part of BP for sixty years and saying goodbye will not be easy. Our people have achieved incredible success over the decades developing and maintaining these hugely important assets, but we are confident this sale is in BP’s and the state’s best interests and the business will be best positioned for the future with Hilcorp. We will do all we can to ensure they are able to quickly build on the strong foundation that we and others have built here.”

BP began working in Alaska in 1959, drilling the confirmation well for the Prudhoe Bay oilfield in 1968 and in the mid-1970s helped build the 800-mile Trans Alaska Pipeline. BP began producing oil from Prudhoe Bay in 1977. The giant oilfield—the most prolific in US history—has to date produced over 13 billion barrels of oil and is estimated to have the potential to produce more than one billion further barrels.

BP’s net oil production from Alaska in 2019 is expected to average almost 74,000 barrels a day. BP operates Prudhoe Bay, with a working interest of 26 percent, and holds non-operating interests in the producing Milne Point and Point Thomson fields. It also holds non-operating interests in the Liberty project and exploration lease interests in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). In addition to shares in TAPS and its operator the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, BP is divesting its midstream interests in the Milne Point Pipeline and the Point Thomson Pipeline. 

Approximately 1,600 employees are currently associated with BP’s Alaska business and BP is committed to providing clarity about their future as soon as possible as part of the transition process with Hilcorp.

Hilcorp has been operating in Alaska since 2012 and is today the largest private oil and gas operator in the state, currently operating more than 75,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day (boe/d) gross production. In 2014 Hilcorp purchased interests from BP in four operated Alaska North Slope oilfields.

BP continues to develop its business in the US, where between 2005 and 2018 it invested over $115 billion, more than any other energy investor. In the second quarter of 2019, BP’s net oil and gas production from the US averaged over 921,000 boe/d, from major interests in Alaska, onshore Lower 48 and deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

In late 2018, BP acquired a portfolio of high-quality onshore US oil and gas interests from BHP for $10.5 billion, adding 190,000 boe/d net production. BP also continues to develop its business in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, bringing on a series of new projects on its major producing assets. The new $9 billion Argos platform on the Mad Dog field is expected on stream in 2021.

Bob Dudley added: “Our exit from Alaska does not in any way diminish BP’s commitment to America. We remain very bullish on the US energy sector. In just the last three years we have invested more than $20 billion in the US and we will continue to look at further investment opportunities here.”

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Interests included in the transaction:

 

Upstream oil and gas interests:

  • Prudhoe Bay, 26% (operator BP);
  • Milne Point, 50% (operator Hilcorp);
  • Point Thomson, 32% (operator ExxonMobil);
  • Liberty project, 50% (operator Hilcorp);
  • Non-operating interests in exploration leases in ANWR.

 

Midstream pipeline interests:

  • Trans Alaska Pipeline System, 49%;
  • Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, 49%;
  • Point Thomson Export Pipeline, 32%;
  • Milne Point Pipeline, 50%.

 

Other:

  • Prince William Sound Oil Spill Response Corporation, 25%

BP in Alaska:

 

  • BP is the operator and 26% owner in the Prudhoe Bay oilfield.
  • Prudhoe Bay is located on the coast of the Arctic Ocean in northern Alaska, 650 miles north of Anchorage. It is the third largest oilfield in North America by proved reserves. 
  • To date, Prudhoe Bay has produced more than 13 billion barrels of oil, far exceeding initial projections of 9.6 billion barrels. In 2018, Prudhoe Bay produced about 270,000 barrels of oil a day, accounting for more than half of the State of Alaska’s total oil production.
  • In 2014, BP divested its interests in the Endicott and North Star fields and half its interests in the Milne Point and Liberty fields to Hilcorp.
  • In 2018, BP sold its interest in the Kuparuk field to ConocoPhillips.
  • BP Alaska currently employs some 1,600 staff, supports around 8,000 jobs in Alaska and in 2018 spent $700 million with 280 Alaska vendors. 
  • In 2018, BP donated more than $4 million to education and community organizations across Alaska.

 

BP in the US:

  • BP is a global producer of oil and gas with operations in nearly eighty countries. BP has a larger economic footprint in the US than in any other nation, investing more than $115 billion since 2005.
  • BP employs about 14,000 people across the US and supports more than 125,000 additional jobs through all its business activities.
  • In the U.S., in addition to Alaska BP has oil and gas producing interests in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, and onshore in the Lower 48. It operates three refineries, two petrochemical manufacturing sites and has over 7,000 fuel retail sites. BP also has a wind power business in the US, operating ten sites in seven states.

 

Hilcorp Alaska:

  • Hilcorp Alaska, an affiliate Hilcorp Energy Company, is a privately held oil and natural gas exploration and production company. Headquartered in Anchorage, Hilcorp Alaska employs more than 500 full-time employees throughout the state. Hilcorp Energy Company is headquartered in Houston, Texas, and has more than 2,300 full-time employees. Hilcorp continues to grow by actively acquiring and developing conventional assets while expanding its footprint into a number of new resource plays.
  • Harvest Alaska, an affiliate of Harvest Midstream Company, is a privately held midstream services provider based in Anchorage, Alaska. Harvest Alaska currently operates pipeline systems in Alaska’s Cook Inlet and on the North Slope. Harvest Midstream operates crude oil and natural gas gathering, storage, transportation, treatment and terminalling assets across the Lower 48 and Alaska.

As part of Harvest Alaska (Harvest) announced it will acquire all of BP Transportation Alaska’s ownership in midstream interests in Alaska including a 49 percent interest in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), 49 percent of Alyeska Service Company and other related midstream interests. Alyeska Service Company will continue to operate the pipeline as it does today.

“The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System is an icon of Alaska’s energy industry and a monument to Alaskan ingenuity and will power.  It’s also a critical piece of infrastructure for America’s energy future,” said Jason Rebrook, Chief Executive Officer of Harvest Midstream. “We are proud to partner with Alyeska and the other members of the TAPS family to ensure a bright future for the system, for Alaskans, and for American energy independence.”

The 800-mile-pipeline system, one of the largest pipelines in the world, transports oil from the North Slope of Alaska to the northern most ice-free port in Valdez, Alaska. The system has a capacity of approximately 2 million barrels per day and runs from the Prudhoe Bay oilfield to the Valdez Marine Terminal.  To date, the TAPS system has transported over 17 billion barrels of product.

“TAPS is an engineering marvel that has played a critical role in the history of the energy industry,” said Sean Kolassa, President of Harvest Midstream.  “It will continue to play a very important role and we look forward to being a key partner in its future with focus on safety, the environment and the communities it connects.”

Alaska Business Magazine November 2019 cover

In This Issue

Mining in 2019: The Year in Review

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Following a year when metal prices were both up and down—sometimes dramatically; when international trade squabbles spooked investors to both enter and exit the metals markets; and when mining companies started the year cautiously bullish but ended it cautious bearish, those involved in Alaska mineral exploration, development, and production are once again asking themselves: “Where did we succeed, where did we fail, and where do we go from here?”

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