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January 2018

Vol. 23, No. 2 Week of January 14, 2018

Oil Search/Armstrong deal might close sooner; Steve Quinn onto new venture; BP’s Bob Dudley rumored in Juneau

“At this stage it is planned for Oil Search to take operatorship in mid-February but that will be dependent on the closure of the transaction which is awaiting final regulatory approvals,” Oil Search’s executive general manager for exploration and new business, Keiran Wulff, told PN Jan. 9.

Oil Search, based in Papua New Guinea and with offices in Perth, Australia, bought into Armstrong Energy and GMT Exploration’s interests at Pikka and Horseshoe on Alaska’s North Slope in late October.

Oil Search said it paid $400 million for a 25.5 percent interest in the Pikka unit and adjacent exploration acreage and 37.5 percent interest in the Horseshoe block and the Hue shale.

The company has the option, exercisable until June 30, 2019, to purchase all of Armstrong and GMT’s remaining interest in the Pikka unit and the Horseshoe block (another 25.5 percent and 37.5 percent respectively) as well as an additional 25.5 percent interest in adjacent exploration acreage and 37.5 percent in the Hue shale, for $450 million. Repsol holds the remaining interest.

Oil Search said Nov. 1 it will carry Armstrong and GMT’s share of the 2018-19 appraisal program (drilling since cancelled, seismic work on schedule), estimated at $25-$30 million, if the purchase option is not exercised by June 1, 2018, and will assume operatorship on June 1, 2018.

The ASX-listed publicly traded Oil Search is a partner with ExxonMobil and Repsol in Papua New Guinea.

Wulff will head up Oil Search’s Alaska operation, based in Anchorage.

Steve Quinn leaves PN

Sad to say, Steve Quinn, the Juneau-based freelancer who has penned PN’s Q&As with political figures about oil and gas issues, is leaving PN to move to a full-time position with KTVA as an editor.

Quinn’s Jan. 9 farewell to PN readers: “I’ve enjoyed producing stories nearly six years for Petroleum News, capturing unique thoughts mostly for state lawmakers on resource development issues, be it the state’s ever changing oil tax regime, new directions for marketing North Slope natural gas reserves and federal policy decisions that keep the state of Alaska off balance. I’ve accepted a News Content Editor position with KTVA which means relocating from Juneau to Anchorage. First, however, I’ll cover the Legislature (for KTVA) in the upcoming session while remaining in Juneau.”

Best wishes in your new venture, Steve.

BP’s Bob Dudley met with guv?

The latest rumor is BP’s Bob Dudley was in Juneau Jan. 5 to meet with Alaska Gov. Bill Walker about the state’s oil and gas policies, in particular Walker’s actions toward BP.

A Jan. 8 call from PN to Jonathan Taylor, deputy press secretary for the governor, yielded no comment. Not an actual “no comment;” just no comment at all.

Taylor checked with no one. He simply, and courteously, recommended a public records request for the Governor’s personal calendar for Jan. 5 under the freedom of information act. Done.

But Angela Hull, constituent services coordinator and public records specialist in Walker’s office who handles such filings, warned the governor only releases his calendar every 60 days or so.

However, she did say that under the Alaska Public Records Act (AS 40.25.100-40.25.350) when her office receives a request, they are “processed in the order they are received. There is a 10-working-day (does not include holidays and/or weekends) time frame for response, and there is a 10-working-day extension period that can be exercised under particular parameters.”

So, anyone out there talking? Call 907 229-7057 or email publisher@petroleumnews.com, please.

- KAY CASHMAN, publisher






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