Petroleum News is reporting the latest rumor in the oil patch: BP is selling off its Alaska assets and exiting the state.
It’s a rumor that’s going like wildfire around the oil patch.
Normally, when the Petroleum News reports something, it’s a fact you can take to the bank. If the newspaper is going to go out on a limb with a rumor, it’s because the rumor is so strong, it’s the news.
The whispers of BP’s possible exit have been ramping up for weeks, and insiders have contacted Must Read Alaska with various versions.
One version is that BP is reportedly selling most or all of its interest in Prudhoe Bay to ConocoPhillips and Hilcorp. ConocoPhillips would operate the west half (WOA) and Hilcorp would take the eastern portion (EOA) of BP’s North Slope interests, according to this rumor.
Another rumor is that BP has called a company meeting for all Alaska employees on Aug. 20, with no subject announced.
BP operates the entire Prudhoe Bay field — more than half of Alaska’s total oil production.
Of course, no BP or ConocoPhillips representatives will talk about it, because those companies are publicly traded and there are strict regulations surrounding information that can impact share price. Announcements like this are done systematically, governed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
But Hilcorp is a privately owned company, with an entirely different corporate culture. If it’s buying out BP’s assets, the change could mean a trimming of the workforce.
What appears evident is that BP and Hilcorp have been in discussions for some time, but have never sealed a deal.