Oil major BP has announced that its top Alaska executive, John Mingé, has been picked to succeed Lamar McKay as chairman and president of BP America, and Janet Weiss, the current Alaska vice president of resources, will be taking over for Mingé as BP's Alaska president. The company says the leadership changes will take effect on Feb. 15.
Mingé has led BP's Alaska oil and gas exploration, development and production operations, as well as the company's interest in the trans-Alaska pipeline, since Jan. 1, 2009, when he replaced Doug Suttles.
“John Mingé has done a superb job in Alaska, where he has led the way in enhancing safety and making BP Alaska a stronger business,” said McKay. “His background prepares him well for the challenges of representing BP in the US, which is home to our largest and most diverse portfolio of businesses anywhere in the world.”
The company's announcement of the promotion touted advancements that Mingé's tenure in Alaska featured, "Under his leadership, BP Alaska successfully tested innovative enhanced oil recovery technologies, such as Bright Water and LoSal, which are now used by BP around the globe. In 2012, BP Alaska achieved the lowest recordable incident rate in its history, with a 50 percent reduction from 2009."
Mingé served as head of Alaska operations during some trying times for the company, both in Alaska and farther afield. In November 2009, a worker found a pipeline leak at the company's Lisburne production center at Prudhoe Bay on Alaska's North Slope. That leak spilled about 15,000 gallons of crude oil, and 34,000 gallons of oil-production wastewater onto the tundra.
The spill was one in a series of mishaps and disasters at BP's Alaska facilities cited by prosecutors who claimed that BP had violated the probation it had been placed on as a result of a 2007 criminal conviction following North Slope spills. A judge decided in favor of BP, but the image fallout that faced Mingé and the company in Alaska was in some ways exacerbated by the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion at BP's Macondo prospect. The disaster killed 11 workers and spilled more than 5 million gallons into the Gulf of Mexico.