BP Alaska has signed a long-term contract with Alaska Airlines to provide charter service to the North Slope for workers, an executive told employees this week.
The company's aviation team "has been looking at ways to maintain our dedicated service to Deadhorse while reducing costs," Neil Loader, vice president of operations for BP Alaska, said in a Monday email to employees.
Currently, BP workers fly to the North Slope on Shared Services, a co-venture between BP and ConocoPhillips. Shared Services transports more than 27,000 employees and contract workers every month between Anchorage, Fairbanks and the North Slope, according to the ConocoPhillips website.
Workers traveling between Fairbanks and Deadhorse for BP will use commercial flights rather than the Alaska Airlines charter service, said BP Alaska spokeswoman Meg Baldino.
The change to using Alaska Airlines means a split from the arrangement with ConocoPhillips.
The new contract with Alaska Airlines starts in September 2019, Baldino said in an emailed statement. Employees will also receive air miles from the flights.
"This is good news for BP Alaska, which made the selection after a thorough review process and at a time when previous contracts were up for renewal," Baldino said.
The new contract will provide "substantial savings over the current model," Loader said in the email. Baldino would not say how much those savings would be.
The decision is about BP "making sure our business is here for the long term and finding efficiencies we can to do that," she said.
The new service "will be very similar to what we have today with Shared Services, though it won't be exactly the same," Loader said in the email.
Shared Services has been operating since the 1990s. BP, ConocoPhillips and Caelus Energy are joint lessees of the aircraft operated by Shared Services, Baldino said. ConocoPhillips operates the flights.
ConocoPhillips workers will continue to fly with Shared Services, ConocoPhillips spokeswoman Amy Burnett said in an email. "Shared Services will continue to operate much as it does now" through August 2019, she said.
"It's too soon to know the effect on staffing needs or the specifics of our path forward with Shared Services," Burnett said. "We will be working out the details over the coming months, and we will be collaborating with Caelus as we work through those details."
She also said: "Our outlook for Alaska is very positive, and our path forward for aviation services will reflect that optimism."