ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A request by Hilcorp Energy Company was granted to keep its finances private during a $5.6 billion deal to buy BP Alaska’s pipeline assets, a regulatory agency said.
The Regulatory Commission of Alaska said Thursday that the Texas-based company and its subsidiaries can keep their financial statements confidential, Anchorage Daily News reported.
Hilcorp announced in August that it intended to purchase BP Alaska’s operation in the Prudhoe Bay oil field, including the company’s 49% stake in the 800-mile (1,287-kilometer) trans-Alaska pipeline and related pipelines.
Hilcorp and BP Alaska filed for a transfer of the pipelines assets in September, which the commission is expected to decide on by the end of September, commission officials said.
Hundreds of people have raised concerns to the commission about the company’s request for privacy, arguing that 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.
The companies previously told the commission that requiring disclosure of Hilcorp’s finances could limit the number of companies willing to invest in Alaska pipelines.
The commission, which is overseeing the pipeline portion of the deal, granted the request to keep the deal’s sales contract confidential, saying that no entity has requested public disclosure of the agreement.
Alaska Public Interest Research Group, which has questioned the deal, is considering legal action to reverse the commission’s decision, group analyst Philip Wight said.
“By ruling on a murky technicality, the commission failed to do its job to protect the public interest,” Wight said in a statement. “Alaskans are being denied the information we need to be good stewards of our resources.”