In the May 27 issue of Petroleum News there is a story about yet another judicial ruling in favor of the state on the Point Thomson unit.
The article is about a May 22 decision by Alaska Superior Court Judge Sharon Gleason denying procedural motions from former Point Thomson leaseholders that would have effectively delayed the court’s hearing of the main Point Thomson lawsuit, which was filed by ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron and ConocoPhillips after the state terminated the eastern North Slope unit late last year.
The May 22 decision, handed down by the same judge who will be hearing the main Point Thomson lawsuit, ruled on two of the pre-trial procedural motions the former leaseholders have filed — earlier in May another judge ruled in favor of the state on another motion.
In the May 27 article, Petroleum News did not make it clear that the court has consolidated all of the pre-trial procedural motions on the commissioner’s decision to terminate the unit, and that there are no more procedural motions pending. In fact, the deadline for pre-trial motions has passed. (That does not mean the former Point Thomson leaseholders won’t file another procedural motion. However, after the deadline the court can simply refuse to hear them or roll them into the main lawsuit, as the court has done to date.) Gleason is sticking to her original schedule for the Point Thomson lawsuit, which is June 22 for briefs from the former leaseholders, July 23 for the state’s brief and Aug. 13 for a reply from the former leaseholders.
There is “likely to be oral argument in late August or September and a decision in the fall,” a state official told Petroleum News on May 24.