January 06, 1998 --- Vol. 4, No. 2January 1998

CIRI shuts down land department

Cook Inlet Region Inc. has closed its resources department, PNA sources said Jan. 5. Seven of the department?s 10 employees have been let go, including Jerry Booth, Al Hastings, Tom Crafford and Mike Franger. Three employees have been transferred to other positions within the Native regional corporation. Booth, vice president, resources, has been retained as a consultant.

The department, formed a year and a half ago when CIRI's energy and minerals department merged with its land department, is responsible for land management and marketing the company?s petroleum, mineral and coal resources.

CIRI?s legal and real estate groups and lease administration will take over the duties of the resources department, sources say.

BP term price down 12 percent for January

BP America?s January 1998 term price for Alaska North Slope crude is $16.41 a barrel, down $1.91, a 11.64 percent drop, from BP?s December term price of $18.32 a barrel. BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. spokesman Paul Laird noted that this is the lowest term price BP has posted for ANS crude since December 1996. BP?s term price was $15.88 a barrel for December 1996.

The Alaska Department of Revenue?s division of oil and gas audit said last week that it has lowered its fiscal year 1998 year-end price projection to $17.59 a barrel, an additional 47 cent a barrel decrease from a Dec. 1 market update and a cumulative 52 cent a barrel reduction from the division?s fall estimate of $18.11 a barrel for fiscal year 1998.

The division credited ?ample crude stocks, increased OPEC production and the concern about the re-entry of Iraq crude into the world market? as factors contributing to suppressed oil prices.

BP?s January 1997 term price was $23.50 a barrel. The term price averaged $19.57 a barrel for 1997, down 1.46 percent from the 1996 average of $19.86 a barrel.

BP is the largest producer of ANS crude and the only North Slope producer to post term prices.

BP defers Point Thomson wells

BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. has decided to defer exploration wells in the Point Thomson field, BP company spokesperson Paul Laird confirmed today. The company had begun the permitting process for up to five exploration wells in the eastern North Slope unit but has elected to hold off on the wells in order to ?spend a bit more time reviewing seismic data from the Point Thomson area,? said Laird.

BP?s decision, said Laird, is not connected to the state of Alaska?s rejection of unit operator Exxon?s 15th plan of development and the ensuing negotiations that produced a temporary six-month plan of development (effective this month) while the state and Exxon attempt to work out their differences (see the December 1997 edition of PNA for two related news items).

Ken Konrad, manager of new developments, is in charge of the Point Thomson project for BP.

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