RCA says it needs another month to consider Hilcorp’s confidentiality request

pipeline
The Trans-Alaska Pipeline runs alongside the Dalton Highway near the Toolik Field Station on June 9, 2017, in the North Slope Borough. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/Alaska’s Energy Desk)

The state commission overseeing BP’s proposed sale of its Alaska oil assets to Hilcorp said it needs another month to weigh confidentiality requests after receiving dozens of public comments and new documents from the two companies.

In an order filed this week, the Regulatory Commission of Alaska said it will extend its deadline to Feb. 11 to decide on Hilcorp’s request to keep its financial statements private.

It’s the next step in the RCA’s review process of a portion of the $5.6 billion deal between the two oil companies.

The deal includes BP’s stakes in Alaska oil fields, pipelines and other assets. The five-member RCA is charged with approving the transfer of BP’s interest in the trans-Alaska pipeline, and the Milne Point and Point Thomson pipelines.

Related: Alaska utility regulators ask Hilcorp, BP for more details on $5.6B deal

Hilcorp, a private company, has argued that making its finances public during the process would damage its business and give its competitors an unfair advantage. The company already routinely discloses financial information to various agencies, it said in an RCA filing.

In public comments, however, some Alaskans have demanded financial transparency from Hilcorp to ensure the company has the resources to operate the assets it wants to buy and to respond to any oil spills or other incidents. Some also raised concerns about Hilcorp’s safety and environmental record.

The RCA has received more than 200 public comments on the proposed sale.

On Dec. 20, Hilcorp and BP filed a 37-page joint response to some of those comments, saying they wanted to correct “certain misconceptions and misinformation.” They also said the RCA should move forward with the part of the deal involving BP’s 48% interest in the trans-Alaska pipeline without a public hearing.

Related: Lawmakers quiz state regulators on $5.6B Hilcorp, BP deal