BP bets on gas pipeline, buys into Anadarko deal

PHOTO/Rob Stapleton/AJOC
BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. has agreed to buy into a natural gas exploration venture led by Anadarko Petroleum Corp. in the foothills region of Alaska’s North Slope, signaling its confidence in plans now under way to commercialize gas.

BP acquired a one-third interest in Anadarko’s exclusive agreement with Arctic Slope Regional Corp. covering about 3.1 million acres, Anadarko announced Feb. 19.

In exchange, the Houston-based independent received a significant interest in an unidentified satellite prospect near Prudhoe Bay and an interest in selected seismic surveys conducted by BP on the North Slope.

As part of the trade, BP also purchased a one-third interest in about 230,000 acres of state leases jointly acquired in November by Anadarko and partner Alberta Energy Co. Ltd. at a state lease sale. AEC will retain its one-third interest. The companies did not disclose the purchase amount.

"Anadarko is actively searching for natural gas on the North Slope, and we see a lot of potential there to help meet the increased demand for natural gas in the Lower 48," said John N. Seitz, Anadarko president and chief operating officer. "BP is already a major producer on the Slope, and we’re proud to be partnering on these efforts with both BP and AEC."

Ronnie Chappell, a BP spokesman in Anchorage, said his company joined in the exploration program because "we believe that natural gas is going to be moving off the North Slope before the end of this decade."

"It’s a manifestation of our confidence in the effort now under way to deliver natural gas to the North American market," he said.

Chappell said BP chose to join Anadarko and Alberta Energy rather than strike out on its own because company officials believe the acreage over which exploration will occur is prospective.

"We look forward to working with Anadarko and Alberta Energy on this effort, and we’re pleased to have them as partners," he added.

The joint exploration effort is under way and includes several seismic surveys this year. Anadarko is the operator, and each company holds a one-third interest in the joint program.

The exploration territory is in the foothills area of the Brooks Range region of Alaska’s North Slope, south of the existing producing fields, and stretches east-west for about 250 miles from the Colville River to the Canning River.

Anadarko entered into the agreement to explore this region with the ASRC in 1998. AEC joined Anadarko in the venture in 2000 and became a one-third partner.

Houston-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp. is the world’s largest independent exploration and production company, with proved reserves totaling 2.06 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

03/03/2001 - 8:00pm