Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
September 2018

Vol. 23, No.36 Week of September 09, 2018

Alyeska to shrink workforce by 10 percent as company restructures

Alan Bailey

Petroleum News

Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., the operator of the trans-Alaska pipeline, expects to shrink its workforce by 10 percent in conjunction with a major restructuring of the company, Tom Barrett, the company president, has announced in a letter to Gov. Bill Walker, Alaska legislators and state commissioners. The job losses will impact both company employees and contractors.

Barrett said that following an initiative launched in 2017, to investigate ways whereby Alyeska could remain technically and economically viable through the coming decades, the company had developed a plan that would simplify processes by focusing on maintenance; would optimize the company’s operating infrastructure; would continue with technical innovation; and would strengthen the company’s high performance culture.

Barrett commented that, directly or indirectly, his company primarily engages in activities focused on the maintenance of the pipeline and Valdez Marine Terminal infrastructure. However, the manner in which the company is currently organized is more appropriate for a construction company, he said. Consequently, the company is realigning into three divisions: operations and maintenance; engineering and risk; and chief operating officer. The leadership is already in place for this reorganization and has begun planning how to implement the new business strategy. This strategy includes the clarification of decision authority and the delegation of decision making to managers in the field, expediting decision making and actions through the empowerment of people in the work environment.

Simplified processes

The new strategy also involves simplifying maintenance processes, to better identify high priority work while also applying risk-based decision criteria for completing that urgent work and conducting other maintenance work quickly and efficiently. The company plans to use its engineering and risk management expertise to improve and strengthen its technical controls. And the emergency planning and response functions for the pipeline, the marine terminal and the marine escort system out of Valdez will be centralized. The company will continue to expand the use of modern technology.

Most jobs in the company will be impacted in some way by the various changes, and the size of the workforce will drop, with negative impacts for some and new opportunities for others, Barrett wrote. Alyeska anticipates notifying all employees by early November of actions affecting them, he wrote.

“It will be a fundamental and challenging change to our work, but one that is necessary to ensure the future operational reliability and efficiency of TAPS,” Barrett wrote. “I am acutely sensitive to the impacts this will have on our people, who in the past and moving forward are the foundation of our success.”


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