January 05, 2005 --- Vol. 11, No. 1January 2005

Greens claim credit for ConocoPhillips' withdrawal from Arctic Power

A Washington, D.C.-based environmental coalition seems bent on rewriting history. U.S. Public Interest Research Groups, also known as PIRG, sent out a press release Jan. 5 — the day after the U.S. Congress convened — claiming to have convinced Alaska North Slope producer ConocoPhillips to drop out of Arctic Power.

According to PIRG, ConocoPhillips dropped out of the Anchorage-based pro-ANWR drilling advocacy group because of a shareholder resolution opposing drilling in ANWR that was filed in December 2004 — the same resolution that failed in May 2004 when 91 percent of the company’s shareholders voted against it.

However, according to Arctic Power executive director Kevin Hand, ConocoPhillips did not give official notice it was dropping its membership at any point this past year.

“They did not renew their membership for 2004; there was no official notice at any time that they had dropped their membership,” Hand told Petroleum News Jan. 5. “It’s been more than a year since we’ve had a contribution from ConocoPhillips.”

ConocoPhillips Alaska spokeswoman Dawn Patience confirmed Hand’s statement, saying the company had not renewed its membership for 2004 and that the membership had simply “lapsed” without a formal notice or announcement of any kind.

“We have not been involved in the ANWR debate in many years and have focused our investment attention in Alaska toward the gas pipeline and development of other North Slope satellite fields. Since ANWR is currently closed to development, we feel that any resolution or pledge on our part would be moot,” she said.

But Athan Manuel, director of PIRG’s Arctic Wilderness Campaign, put a different spin on what Hand referred to as “old news.”

Manuel called ConocoPhillips’ decision not to renew its membership a “withdrawal” from the advocacy group that was spurred by Green Century Capital Management’s December re-filing of the anti-ANWR drilling resolution that failed in May and Green Century’s offer to withdraw the resolution if the company dropped out of Arctic Power.

“This is a significant win for America’s Arctic, and we commend ConocoPhillips for listening to their shareholders and the American people and dropping out of Arctic Power. It appears that ConocoPhillips and BP are more enlightened than the Bush Administration when it comes to drilling in the Arctic Refuge. Hopefully Congress will get the message and defeat attempts to allow drilling in the Arctic Refuge this year,” Manuel said in PIRG’s press release.

BP dropped out of Arctic Power in 2002. Although BP has sold or dropped all of its exploration acreage in Alaska and is concentrating on producing more oil from its existing North Slope oil fields, the London-based company has held onto its ANWR acreage where it and partner ChevronTexaco drilled a well in 1985.

“This is a transparent effort on the part of the environmentalists to create a false impression of a lack of support in Alaska that coincides with the new Congress. It is a desperate grasp to change the focus from the issue of responsible development on the merits to something else,” Hand said.

He said more than “75 percent of Alaskans support environmentally sensitive development of ANWR.”

Roger Herrera who represents Arctic Power in Washington, D.C., said, “The effort to open ANWR has been going on for many years without the oil companies. One has to note — neither BP nor ConocoPhillips has said they would not participate in a lease sale on the coastal plain. In fact BP,” which currently holds leases on the coastal plain, “has implied the exact opposite. Both companies are currently drilling in the Arctic. What’s the difference between drilling in NPR-A” where ConocoPhillips is currently exploring “and drilling in ANWR’s coastal plain? Physically and environmentally there is absolutely no difference at all.”

Note: See full story in the Jan. 9 issue of Petroleum News.

December ANS production steady from November

Alaska North Slope crude oil production averaged 981,072 barrels per day in December, up less than a tenth of a percent from November’s average of 980,690 bpd. The Alaska Department of Revenue’s Tax Division reported that production at Endicott was disputed Dec. 5-7 by the cleanup of a glycol spill in a gas module, Northstar production dipped Dec. 21-22 when a compressor went down and overall North Slope production was prorated 50 percent Dec. 26 due to a remote gate valve closure at Pump Station 4 on the trans-Alaska pipeline.

The BP Exploration (Alaska)-operated Endicott field had the largest drop in production, averaging 21,223 bpd in December, down 8.85 percent from an average of 23,284 bpd in November. BP-operated Lisburne averaged 46,239 bpd in December, down 0.3 percent from a November average of 46,393 bpd.

The ConocoPhillips Alaska-operated Alpine field averaged 115,847 bpd in December, down 0.3 percent from a November average of 116,197 bpd. The BP-operated Milne Point field averaged 52,438 bpd in December, almost flat with a November average of 52,442 bpd.

Production from the ConocoPhillips-operated Kuparuk River field averaged 198,179 bpd in December, up 0.2 percent from a November average of 197,767. BP-operated Prudhoe Bay averaged 472,908 bpd in December, up 0.4 percent from a November average of 470,872. BP-operated Northstar averaged 74,238 bpd, up 0.7 percent from a November average of 73,735 bpd.

Note: See complete stories in the Jan. 9 issue of Petroleum News.

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