November 02, 1999 --- Vol. 5, No. 52November 1999

BP Amoco negotiating tolling agreement with FTC

Gov. Tony Knowles suspended negotiations with BP Amoco and urged the Federal Trade Commission to enjoin the company’s proposed acquisition of ARCO Oct. 31. The governor said in a Nov. 1 statement that BP Amoco’s action “derails the process that had been agreed upon.”

BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. spokesman Ronnie Chappell told PNA Nov. 2 that what BP Amoco had done was to certify “substantial compliance with the FTC’s second request for information.” That second request, Chappell said, was received early in the summer.

“We’ve spent months gathering documents, organizing them and submitting them to the commission and that process is now, in our opinion, complete and we have certified that to the agency,” he said.

“We see this as routine and normal part of the regulatory approval process. But we have said from the beginning that it is our goal to achieve an agreement with the state before seeking final, final FTC review and approval of the ARCO acquisition. That is still our goal.”

Clock triggered by certification

The 20-day clock begins running when certification occurs, he said. That clock has been suspended “while we negotiate a tolling agreement with the FTC. The tolling agreement will stop the clock and allow discussions to continue.”

Tolling agreements are not uncommon in discussions with the FTC, he said.

Chappell said that the company will continue negotiations with the state to reach an agreement that will be satisfactory to Alaska and Alaskans.”

In retrospect, he said, we “should have done a better job of explaining our plans and intentions to the state. And listening to their concerns. If we had, this misunderstanding would not have occurred.”

State prepared to resume negotiations

Bob King, Gov. Knowles’ press secretary, told PNA that the state is looking for official word from whoever keeps the clock. If the state’s concerns have been addressed, he said, the state is fully prepared to resume discussions.

Semco Energy closes acquisition of Enstar

Semco Energy Inc. said Nov. 1 that it has finalized the acquisition of Enstar Natural Gas Co. and Alaska Pipeline Co. The Anchorage-based natural gas distribution and natural gas transmission companies were formerly owned by Ocean Energy Inc.

Semco Energy agreed in July to acquire Enstar for approximately $290 million in cash, which includes the purchase of approximately $60 million of Enstar debt held by Houston, Texas-based Ocean Energy.

The acquisition was approved by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska and the Federal Trade Commission.

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