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January 25, 1999 --- Vol. 5, No. 3January 1999

BP Exploration cuts 600 Alaska positions

Six hundred positions, 220 staff and 380 contractor, are being eliminated by BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., the company said Jan. 25.

BP has said it would be looking for 30 percent reductions in Alaska - the 600 positions being eliminated are 29 percent of BP's total employee and contractor base of 2,085 in Alaska (963 employees and 1,122 contractors).

More than two-thirds of the reductions, 410 staff and contractor positions, are in the company's Anchorage headquarters building. One hundred and ninety of the eliminated positions are on the North Slope.

BP said that employees are being notified this week of their job status. Most reductions will be effective March 31.

"This is an extremely painful step, and we know it has a tremendous impact on many people's lives," said Richard Campbell, president of BP Alaska, in a Jan. 25 statement. "But it is essential," he said, "as part of our broader effort to reduce costs in order to sustain and prolong our Alaskan operations in this difficult business environment."

BP said that in addition to severance packages and benefits, affected staff are being provided outplacement assistance, counseling and coaching, career transition consultation and office support.

MMS defers three potential Alaska OCS lease sales

Three potential Alaska outer continental shelf oil and gas lease sales on the U.S. Minerals Management Services' current five-year program are being deferred.

Outgoing MMS Director Cynthia Quarterman told the Alaska Support Industry Alliance Jan. 22 that the agency has been talking to industry about potential Alaska OCS lease sales.

Industry remains interested in a potential Beaufort Sea sale, Quarterman said, although that sale has been deferred from 2000 to 2001.

But, she said, industry was not interested in sales in Cook Inlet and the Gulf of Alaska (on the potential sale schedule for 2001) and the Chukchi Sea/Hope Basin (a potential 2002 sale). Because of that lack of interest, Quarterman said, MMS will not consider sales in those areas in the current five-year program, but will reconsider the areas as part of the next five-year plan.

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