Newest oil merger may have more impact at gas stations in Alaska

Posted: Tuesday, October 17, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Unlike some recent oil mergers, such as BP Amoco's takeover of Atlantic Richfield, industry observers say the latest big oil deal won't have much impact around Alaska.

Texaco and Chevron are huge oil companies with small stakes in Alaska's oil patch.

Chevron and Texaco combined produce 5,000 barrels a day, or roughly one half of 1 percent of the North Slope's production.

Chevron owns about 1 percent of the huge Prudhoe Bay and a smaller sliver of Kuparuk, the state's second largest oil field. Texaco holds a scant 0.3 percent of Prudhoe.

''They are just not big players up here in Alaska,'' Chuck Logsdon, a state petroleum economist, said.

But both companies are sizable gasoline retailers in the state, and Chevron has been buying up oil exploration acreage at recent lease sales.

Chevron has 36 gasoline stations in Alaska. About 40 service stations carry the Texaco brand around the state.

Texaco and Chevron retail areas overlap in some communities. Chevron and Texaco stations sit on opposite corners on some Anchorage streets.

''We expect the (Federal Trade Commission) is going to take a thorough look at our retail business,'' spokesman Fred Gorell told the Anchorage Daily News.

The companies believe the merger may require the divestiture of some gas stations, he said.

Until the deal closes, however, the companies said they will be going about business as usual.

Chevron will be moving ahead with development plans on the North Slope.

Despite Chevron's slight oil production, the company has a number of attractive Alaska prospects, including a 44 percent share of the undeveloped Point Thompson field and interest in several small satellite fields on the fringes of Prudhoe Bay.

Chevron also has been active in recent lease sales, including the May 1999 sale of leases in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

Chevron partnered in that sale with BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. and Phillips Petroleum to buy 33 leases of more than 233,000 acres on the western side of the North Slope.

BP plans to begin exploring some of that land this winter.

''With this exploration potential, they could be big some day,'' the state's Logsdon said.

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