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Unocal sites' future up in the air

Chevron studies Alaska assets

Posted: Monday, October 24, 2005

Chevron's acquisition of Unocal has Alaskans buzzing about what the future of its business properties are in Alaska. So far, no plans have been announced.

Chevron told Alaska employees its plan will be made public in March 2006, the end of the first quarter, said Roxanne Sinz, public relations manager for Chevron in Alaska.

"A strategy is being looked at," Sinz said.

So far, all that is known is Chevron has said it plans to sell about $2 billion worth of assets.

Chevron spokesman Mickey Driver said once Chevron bought Unocal, meetings began to look at the assets it got. He added that this is happening for assets worldwide, not just in Alaska.

But the acquisition has Alaska's attention — particularly the Kenai Peninsula's.

"(Chevron) holds a very important position in terms of our thinking," said Bill Popp, oil, gas and mining liaison for the borough. "We're definitely interested to see what the outcome is of Chevron's evaluation."

Chevron is the largest producer of oil in Cook Inlet, averaging 31,500 barrels of oil production per day in the region, according to company sources. According to the borough, it has $237.5 million worth of taxable property in the borough.

In recent years, Unocal has had success exploring for natural gas in Happy Valley and Ninilchik. The company also was making progress on a gas storage project in the Swanson River oil field.

Gas storage has been pegged by borough and state officials as critical to helping deliver natural gas from the region's aging fields during winter months when demand is highest.

Although unwilling to talk about specifics, Sinz said all projects have been put on hold during this evaluation process.

Popp said this is not an unexpected process when there is an acquisition between large companies.

"I just want to assure folks they need to be patient and let this thing work through," he said.



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