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Letters to the Editor

Letter: State needs financial guarantees

  • Author: Lois Epstein
    | Opinion
  • Updated: March 10, 2020
  • Published March 10, 2020

The Regulatory Commission of Alaska must decide by March 12 if it will require Hilcorp — the largest privately held oil and gas company in the country — to make its finances public as BP has done. To ensure that Alaska is no worse off under Hilcorp than BP, the RCA should require Hilcorp’s founder and Executive Chairman Jeffery D. Hildebrand to rely less on debt financing and more on his own money to purchase BP’s infrastructure.

Hilcorp’s performance since it began operating in Alaska in 2012 has not been good. Its most egregious incidents include three North Slope workers nearly dying in 2015; a major natural-gas leak from a Cook Inlet pipeline that took months to fix in 2017; and a North Slope oil field contractor death in 2018.

The federal pipeline agency calculated that Harvest Midstream, a Hilcorp subsidiary that operates its pipelines outside of Alaska, has the second-worst accident record of 78 companies nationwide for operators with more than 300 miles of pipeline. Harvest Alaska has the 20th-worst accident record of 310 companies nationwide for companies with less than 300 miles of pipelines.

Not only is financial transparency needed for Hilcorp, the state needs to ensure that Hildebrand’s money is on the line to incentivize better operational performance.

— Lois Epstein, P.E.

Engineer and Arctic Program Director,

The Wilderness Society

Anchorage

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