ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska city appealed a state agency’s order allowing an energy company to keep the company’s finances confidential as it seeks to complete a $5.6 billion oil field purchase.
Valdez turned to the state Superior Court in Anchorage this week to force Hilcorp Energy Company to release its financial details as part of the deal to buy BP Alaska’s interests, The Anchorage Daily News reported Wednesday.
The Regulatory Commission of Alaska said last month that Texas-based Hilcorp and its subsidiaries can shield their financial statements during the transaction.
The decision creates an exception to the general rule allowing public access to documents filed with the commission, the city argued.
Hilcorp in August announced its plan to buy BP Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay oil field operation, including the company’s 49% stake in the 800-mile (1,287-kilometer) trans-Alaska pipeline and related pipelines.
Hundreds of people have raised concerns about the company’s privacy request, arguing financial information should be publicized to boost confidence that the smaller company has the financial strength to maintain aging North Slope facilities and clean up costly oil spills, if they occur.
Valdez challenged the regulatory commission’s interpretation of the state statute in the order, according to the city’s appeal.
“The RCA erred in broadly rather than narrowly interpreting” the statute, the city said in its court filing.
The regulatory commission decision violates constitutional rights and hurts “transparency and the right to question, investigate, and monitor the discharge of the RCA’s duties,” the city argued.
Regulatory commission spokeswoman Grace Salazar said the agency could not comment on the appeal.