ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska state regulatory agency has asked for more information regarding Hilcorp Energy Company’s request to keep its finances private during its $5.6 billion purchase of BP Alaska assets.
The Regulatory Commission of Alaska said Tuesday that it plans to delay a decision until March 12 following extensive public comment on the biggest oil field deal in Alaska in years, The Anchorage Daily News reported Wednesday.
The purchase of BP’s operation in the Prudhoe Bay oil field by the smaller, private company was announced in August and the companies hope to finalize the deal this spring.
The commission is overseeing the portion of the deal involving the transfer of BP’s stake in the 800-mile (1,287-kilometer) trans-Alaska pipeline and related pipelines.
The agency said it needs more information from the oil companies to make a decision on the companies’ claim that public disclosure of Hilcorp’s recent financial information would put the it at a competitive disadvantage.
Hilcorp must also show that the harm it would suffer outweighs the public interest.
The agency gave the oil companies until Feb. 18 to provide explanations of specific harm from the disclosure and whether any financial statements are required to be filed with a federal agency.
Hilcorp and BP previously asserted in a letter to the commission that requiring disclosure of Hilcorp’s finances could limit the pool of companies willing to invest in Alaska pipelines.
The agency granted a request by the companies to keep the deal’s sales contract confidential, saying that no entity has requested public disclosure of the agreement.
Some critics of the proposed sale have said the financial information should be made public to boost confidence that the smaller company has the financial strength to maintain aging North Slope facilities and clean up what could be a costly oil spill.