Vol. 27, No.34 Week of August 21, 2022
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

Oil patch insider: 88 Energy’s latest; Benjy Johnson AOGA panelist, Barnes wins award

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Kay Cashman

Petroleum News

88 Energy has raised approximately A$15 million for its planned Alaska North Slope “Icewine East well long lead, pre-planning and permitting activities, including planning for a flow test program, contingencies, new ventures portfolio expansion opportunities, and working capital.”

The latest “forward plan” released by the company for its Icewine East project is acquiring 3D seismic and drilling a well.

See related story and map on page 1 of the July 24 issue of Petroleum News.

AOGA agenda released

The Alaska Oil and Gas Association’s agenda for its 2022 conference on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 was released Aug. 16 online at

One of the best industry conferences in Alaska for the oil and gas industry, this year it is a little light on speakers, but long on opportunities to network with oil company execs, the primary members of AOGA.

Some of the speakers/panelists include Benjy Johnson, president of BlueCrest Energy; Brad Crabtree, assistant secretary, U.S. Department of Energy; Frank Richards, president, Alaska Gasline Development Corp.; Haley Paine, deputy director, Division of Oil and Gas, Alaska Department of Natural Resources; Ben Loeffler, manager, Pacific Marine Energy Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks; and William Su, co-director of research for the US Income & Value Team, BlackRock.

AOGA names 2022 Industry Award winners

On Aug. 10, the Alaska Oil and Gas Association released its 2022 Industry Award winners, recognizing oil and gas industry service, safety and environmental stewardship

AOGA will honor individuals and companies for their achievements working in the oil and gas industry at its annual conference on Aug. 31-Sept. 1 at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage.

The 2022 AOGA Industry Awards winners are:

CONTRACTOR OF THE YEAR AWARD FOR SAFETY PERFORMANCE, sponsored by the Alaska Support Industry Alliance: NMS

The Contractor of the Year Award for Safety recognizes an oil and gas support company that has demonstrated exemplary commitment to safety.

Every year brings new challenges that NMS strives to anticipate and overcome. In 2021, COVID was again a significant factor in how safety was addressed, and NMS went above and beyond in seeking out proactive solutions. The nomination form is not long enough to capture the extent of their efforts to maintain a safe working environment.

One 2021 highlight: NMS implemented a company-wide “Good Catch and Near Miss Reporting” contest that has been so successful they are continuing the program into 2022. Every time employees report a good catch or near miss safety incident in the company’s safety database, they are actively making their workplace a safer place.

In recognition of the commitment NMS employees dedicate to one of the company’s core values, “Safety Guides Our Behavior,” NMS rewards them by conducting drawings from eligible entries and giving monthly and annual prizes.

With 3,835,159 hours worked in 2021, NMS’ incident rate for total recordable cases was 0.36. In comparison, the national rate for 2021 was 3.2.

THE RISING STAR AWARD: Tara McGrogan, Alyeska Pipeline Service Co.

The Rising Star Award honors a young professional oil and gas industry employee under the age of 35 who has made an immediate and definitive impact on the industry in Alaska.

Tara McGrogan is a lifelong Alaskan, a champion for the Interior and an employee of Alyeska.

She joined Alyeska’s Corporate Communications team as an intern in May 2016. At the time, she had earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a marketing concentration from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She completed a Master of Business Administration in 2017 and returned to Alyeska.

As part of Alyeska’s communications team, Tara learned the ropes of the pipeline, Alaska’s oil and gas industry, and public relations work by delving into creative storytelling mediums, such as writing, graphic design, photography and videography. Her role at Alyeska developed and changed, and she was promoted to corporate communications coordinator.

Additionally, she began working in a central role with the Alaska Native Program, a program built around monitoring and maintaining Alyeska’s commitment to Alaska Native employees, communities, and partners, and building and sustaining those relationships.

ALASKA OIL & GAS PROJECT OF THE YEAR FOR ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP AND INNOVATION, sponsored by Stoel Rives: Sag River Remediation Project, Alyeska Pipeline Service Co.

The Alaska Oil and Gas Project of the Year for Environmental Stewardship and Innovation honors a project that demonstrates superior environmental stewardship in its area of design, construction, or operation and/or an innovative approach that sets a new standard for industry design, construction, or operation in Alaska.

Work performed by Alyeska’s Rivers and Floodplains Team which addressed threats from 2021 spring flooding along the Sagavanirktok (Sag) River corridor was recognized.

Each spring, the powerful Sag River swells, surges, and snakes across the landscape as its ice-and-aufeis build-up melts or bursts, creating a fast-flowing, havoc-causing web of changing waterways. In recent years, the Sag River’s dramatics have wiped out sections of the Dalton Highway and stopped critical traffic to and from Deadhorse for days. It also erodes areas of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System right of way.

And each year, Alyeska, TAPS contractors and many diverse partners team up to improve mitigations and minimize the annual threat, and follow-up any damage with earthmoving repairs.

Annual improvements provide the necessary maintenance of spur dikes, reconstruction of rock vanes, upgrades and construction of additional flood control structures and placement of buried sills to protect the belowground mainline pipeline. In 2021, that essential work was completed with zero accidents, injuries, spills, COVID cases, permit violations or cost overruns.

The planning and implementation of 2021 flood repairs was a team effort between several departments at Alyeska and contractor partners Ahtna Inc., Brice Inc. and Merrick. Solutions were delivered on time and on budget.

Alyeska’s Environmental team worked closely with project managers to ensure all applicable local, state and federal permits were on hand and followed, resulting in a positive field audit by the State of Alaska Environmental Auditor.

MARILYN CROCKETT LIFETIME ACHEIVEMENT AWARD, sponsored by Chevron: John A. Barnes, Hilcorp Alaska.

The Marilyn Crockett Lifetime Achievement Award is named in honor of the former AOGA executive director who dedicated her 41-year career to, as she stated, “growing Alaska’s economy through a vibrant oil and gas sector in the state.” This award honors the dedication Marilyn displayed during her career: exceptional devotion of time, effort, thought and action consistently shown in his/her work for the betterment of the oil and gas industry in Alaska.

John A. Barnes has over 40 years in the upstream oil and gas business, with the majority of his experience in Alaska.

After graduating from Colorado School of Mines, John began his industry career in 1981 as a staff engineer with Marathon Oil in Anchorage. His other work experience includes assignments in West Texas, the North Sea and Houston as well as responsibility for CH2MHILL’s operations and maintenance businesses in Alaska and Russia.

In 2011, John joined Hilcorp Alaska as the first Alaska senior vice president. He led Hilcorp through two major Cook Inlet basin acquisitions, as well as the transition of British Petroleum’s (BP) Milne, Endicott and Northstar assets to Hilcorp.

Then in 2019, when Hilcorp announced its purchase of BP’s interest in Prudhoe Bay, he was again called on for the transition.

Boosting oil production, morale and reserves on the North Slope, he was thrilled to be given the opportunity to take on his current role as Prudhoe Bay East’s Asset Team leader.

Over the years John has given back to this industry and community in countless ways serving on AOGA’s board, the RDC board, State Chamber of Commerce Board and Grace Christian School’s board, to name a few. John was proud to raise his two children in Alaska with his wife Gina.

He will be retiring the end of September and looks forward to more time with them and his grandchildren, fishing the Kenai and enjoying the great outdoors right here at home.

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