BP has spent more than half a century exploring and developing Alaska’s oil and gas resources, while playing an important role in driving economic growth and supporting local communities throughout the state.
The company began working in Alaska in 1959, started drilling at the massive Prudhoe Bay oil field in 1968 and helped build the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System in the mid-1970s.
Since Prudhoe Bay began production in 1977, it has generated more than 12 billion barrels of oil — far exceeding initial projections — thanks in part to enhanced oil recovery technologies that BP pioneered. Four decades after starting up, Prudhoe Bay remains one of North America’s largest oil fields.
BP has a significant business interest in Alaska’s North Slope. The company operates the entire Greater Prudhoe Bay area, which consists of the Prudhoe Bay field and a number of smaller fields. This area produces around 55 percent of Alaska’s oil and gas, and in 2016 it averaged 280,700 barrels of oil equivalent each day. BP also owns interests in seven other North Slope oil fields, including Alaska’s newest oil and gas field, Point Thomson.
Through its investments and operations, the company makes enormous contributions to Alaska’s economic and fiscal health. Indeed, BP supports 16,200 jobs across the state, and in 2016 alone it spent more than $1.2 billion with over 275 vendors in Alaska, while paying $464 million in taxes, royalties and other government payments. BP also has spent the past few years working with industry partners and the state government to advance the Alaska liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, which, if sanctioned, would move North Slope gas to global markets. Estimates suggest that this project could create up to 15,000 temporary construction jobs and around 1,000 permanent jobs.
However, it faces challenges both from the low oil price environment and from the growing number of LNG export projects. Despite these challenges, BP continues to work with all project participants, including the state of Alaska, in hopes of finding a path forward. “BP has a shared goal with Alaska to develop an economically viable Alaska LNG project,” says BP Alaska President Janet Weiss. “There has been a tremendous change in the economic environment, but BP remains committed to trying to commercialize Alaska’s North Slope gas resources.”
In 2016, the company donated nearly $3.5 million to hundreds of Alaska community organizations. Meanwhile, its Alaska employees supported more than 800 community and education initiatives, along with 230 youth teams.
Over the past 30 years, BP has awarded more than $3.5 million to 800 graduating high school seniors from across the state as part of the Principals’ and Commissioner’s Scholarship program.
* Vendor figures for the year ended December 31, 2015. BP jobs figures as of June 30, 2016. Community spend includes BP Foundation.