Oil giant ConocoPhillips announced Wednesday that it’s shutting down its drill rigs on the remote North Slope oil fields, and placing them into long-term storage, to protect its employees and contractors during the coronavirus pandemic.
In an emergency order signed Sunday by Mayor Harry Brower, the borough says that under its authority during a disaster declaration, it is “commandeering” all of Ravn’s “hangars, equipment, operations manuals, parts, supplies, vehicles, (and) airplanes.”
Alaska’s largest private-sector employer, Arctic Slope Regional Corp., has laid off employees and cut charitable giving due to the collapse in oil prices and the economic shutdown caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.
State regulators have asked Hilcorp, the independent oil company buying BP’s Alaska assets, to disclose whether and how the pandemic-driven crash in oil prices will affect its ability to seal the $5.6 billion deal.
Alaska’s largest rural air carrier, RavnAir Group, says it’s cutting its service by 90% amid a coronavirus-driven crash in revenue — a move that could leave dozens of rural villages with deeply diminished air service.
Oil and gas company BP confirmed Tuesday that a worker at Prudhoe Bay has tested positive for COVID-19.
The price of U.S. and global benchmarks are both below $40 per barrel. The COVID-19 pandemic is driving some of the recent decline, but prices were low even before the outbreak.
The companies met last week and agreed to start screening all of their workers when they check in in Anchorage.
While many North Slope fields are on the decline, production at Hilcorp’s Milne Point has actually increased by huge amounts. Now the company is acquiring the massive Prudhoe Bay field, raising hopes of a similar revival there.
The case shows how it’s become common for polar bears to disrupt village life in Kaktovik, which sits on an island at the edge of the Beaufort Sea. As climate change melts sea ice and drives the bears ashore, residents say they’ve been under increasing stress.