Wait, what?

Courtesy of ADN:

The longtime operator of the giant Prudhoe Bay oil field told employees in a meeting Tuesday it plans to sell all of its Alaska assets to Hilcorp Alaska for $5.6 billion, a major shakeup in the Alaska oil industry.

BP shared the news with its 1,600 employees at its Anchorage headquarters.

The blockbuster deal includes BP’s stake in Prudhoe Bay, the 800-mile trans-Alaska pipeline, the Point Thomson and Milne Point fields, and leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, on land owned by an Alaska Native village corporation.

Hilcorp will inherit the BP building in Anchorage, where many of BP’s employees work, said Megan Baldino, a BP spokeswoman. The deal does not include oceangoing oil tankers owned by BP that move oil out of Alaska, though BP and Hilcorp are in conversations about those assets, Baldino said.

How BP’s employees will be affected is unknown, said Baldino.

“Hilcorp will have to come in, look at our business and determine what the organization looks like moving forward,” she said.

The proposed deal is subject to state and federal regulatory approval, but is expected to be finalized in 2020, she said. Changes are not expected in the next couple of months.

This comes as a huge surprise as BP has been up here working on extracting oil since 1977, and recently claimed they had a 40 year plan for Alaska oil exploration moving forward. 

My first thought is that they either have little confidence in finding enough oil in ANWR and the Arctic waters to justify staying up here or they have determined that the political winds are shifting and that access to some of these areas will no longer be available once the Democrats retake power in Washington. 

My gut suggests the second scenario, but I do not know for certain. 

Of course, I would love to see these oil companies all pack up and leave the state, though to be honest we would be fucked if that happened before we found another viable industry to keep the money flowing.