Barrow Native corporation buys oil consulting firm

Posted: Wednesday, September 03, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) A Barrow Native corporation has bought a controlling interest in Emerald Consulting Group, an Anchorage-based firm that provides services to the oil industry.

Harpoon Construction Group bought a controlling interest of 51 percent in Emerald Consulting. Harpoon is a subsidiary of Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation, the village Native corporation for Barrow.

Emerald provides process engineering, process safety, risk management and health, safety and environmental management services to the oil and gas industry in Alaska and the Lower 48.

''It was a great strategic move for us,'' said Emerald general manager Bettina Chastain, who continues to hold a 49 percent interest in Emerald.

As part of an Alaska Native corporation, the company will be positioned well to seek federal contracts. The U.S. Small Business Administration's 8(a) program gives bidding preferences on federal contracts to Native-owned firms.

Ed Byrne, general manager of Harpoon, said the partnership makes sense for both companies.

''Emerald is a key niche player in Alaska's petroleum industry, specializing in management consulting and process engineering,'' Byrne said. ''They have grown to a level where they are exporting their expertise to the Lower 48 and internationally. We see a great deal of opportunity in this partnership.''

The merger won't affect Emerald's day-to-day operations, Chastain said.

''We want our clients to know that nothing has changed,'' Chastain said ''It's still the same people running the show. But we are going places we're going to expand.''

Emerald hopes to open a second office in the Lower 48, probably in the Gulf of Mexico region of Texas.

Chastain started Emerald in 1996 as a one-person firm. Emerald now employs 16 people, including 12 chemical engineers.

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