To the editor: The most important Alaska business deal in a generation is currently underway, but hardly anyone is talking about it. I’m referring to British Petroleum’s proposed sale of its trans-Alaska Pipeline System assets to Hilcorp, a privately owned Texas LLC. As Fairbanksans know, TAPS isn’t just an oil pipeline, it’s the economic artery of Alaska.
As the dominant TAPS owner (48.44%), Hilcorp would effectively control the management of Alyeska, the service company responsible for the operations and safety of the pipeline and its tankers. Hilcorp would play the single-largest role in determining how much money is spent maintaining the pipeline and the safety culture of Alyeska. Hilcorp’s relatively small size, lack of transparency as a private company and history of safety and environmental violations should prompt questions from all Alaskans.
Where is the Alaska media’s coverage of this pressing issue?
Hilcorp’s new role in overseeing Alyeska and TAPS raises significant environmental, regulatory and public interest issues. Hilcorp has one of the worst safety and environmental records of any oil company operating in Alaska. Among its three most egregious incidents was an accident in 2015 that nearly killed three workers, an aging and poorly maintained Hilcorp underwater Cook Inlet pipeline that ruptured and leaked methane for months in 2017 and the death of a worker on the North Slope in 2018.
Our hardworking men and women of organized labor have a vested interest in ensuring Hilcorp provides a safe, secure work environment. We have a right to know: How long will Hilcorp honor BP’s contracts to hire in-state, unionized and Alaska Native workers?
The Regulatory Commission of Alaska is currently accepting comments. You should offer a public comment by Friday. Let the RCA know that Alaskans deserve more time to comment on this crucial deal and that Hilcorp should not be allowed to hide its financials. You can learn more at www.akpirg.org/protect-our-economy and submit comments to bit.ly/33HHu4B.
Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition will also be hosting a public education and comment session at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Murie Building, Room 301.