Alaska DEC

The federal agency that regulates pipeline safety is giving oil and gas company Hilcorp three more months to fix a line running under Cook Inlet.

Hilcorp’s line, which delivers fuel gas to a system of oil platforms in the inlet, sprung a leak last month. The 55-year-old pipe has leaked several times prior, most recently in 2019.

Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil and Gas

Oil and gas leasing isn’t allowed in Kachemak Bay. The state blocked development there after an oil rig got stuck and leaked oil into the bay in 1976.

But legislation proposed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy would allow the state to sell subsurface gas-only leases in part of Kachemak Bay, so oil and gas companies could drill into undersea reservoirs from miles away.

More broadly, the bill would permit subsurface leasing and drilling where surface drilling is currently prohibited. And the bill’s opponents say that would unravel state restrictions meant to protect wildlife.

Alaska DEC

Energy company Hilcorp has been ordered to replace an undersea pipeline in Cook Inlet after it leaked gas last week, for the fifth time in the last several years.

In a corrective order dated April 6, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration told Hilcorp it must temporarily repair the 55-year-old pipeline by April 17, permanently repair it by May 1 and submit a plan for the pipeline’s replacement within 45 days.


A federal permit allowing Hilcorp to drill in Cook Inlet does not account for the harm vessel noise could pose to endangered belugas there, according to a decision yesterday from a District Court judge.

Cook Inletkeeper and the Center for Biological Diversity challenged the permit in a 2019 lawsuit. Judge Sharon Gleason sided with those groups this week, ruling NOAA Fisheries did not account for how noise from Hilcorp’s tug boats would cause harm to belugas when it authorized the company to work there.

Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil & Gas

The state has approved Hilcorp’s plans to drill two gas exploration wells near Anchor Point.

As early as Thursday, the company could start construction on a gravel exploration pad for the company’s Whiskey Gulch prospect. Hilcorp plans to drill two exploration wells there — an oil-gas combination well and gas-only well. An ENSTAR Natural Gas line runs by the site. 

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Hilcorp purchased several blocks of federal leases in Cook Inlet in 2017.

Before it can even think about exploring for oil and gas there, the company has to do a geohazard survey to gauge potential geological hazards in the area.

The company planned to survey four lease blocks last year but was delayed because of the pandemic. It estimates the survey will take about a month and will happen during fishing season in Lower Cook Inlet.

Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil & Gas

Hilcorp, Alaska is looking to build two gas exploration wells near Anchor Point later this year.

The Texas-based company has requested approval from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources to build an oil-gas combination well and gas-only well in Whiskey Gulch, three miles northeast of Anchor Point. It also wants to build a gravel pad and access road on the privately owned property above the lease.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is now accepting public comment on a plan by Hilcorp Alaska LLC to move a jack-up rig to the Tyonek Platform in Cook Inlet. The department issued a preliminary approval for Hilcorp’s plan Oct. 5.

The rig in question is a Spartan 151 jack-up rig, currently in storage in Seward. The Tyonek Platform, where it would be stationed, is the northernmost platform in the inlet and a previous asset of ConocoPhillips. Hilcorp, an independent energy company with a history of reviving old drilling infrastructure, bought the North Cook Inlet oil field in 2016.

Oil and gas producer Hilcorp is continuing its Alaska expansion with three new exploration leases in the Cook Inlet basin.

Hilcorp, which operates most of the platforms in the inlet as well as a number of onshore gas wells and the cross-inlet pipeline, won three leases in the state’s areawide Cook Inlet and Alaska Peninsula oil and gas lease auction this week. The three leases cost the company about $178,000, with an average price of $21.43 per acre.

The big news from Hilcorp these days is its $5.6 billion bid to buy BP out of Alaska, but not all its focus is on the North Slope. Cook Inlet still plays a role in Hilcorp’s footprint in Alaska.

“We have 537 fulltime Hilcorp employees. Ninety percent of them live here in Alaska and over half of them live on the Kenai Peninsula. We have found the Kenai Peninsula workforce to be a wonderfully experienced, creative, energetic workforce to do what we do every day and we will in the future continue to tap into the Kenai Peninsula workforce,” said Dave Wilkins, senior vice president of Hilcorp Alaska, speaking at the 2020 Economic Outlook Forum in Seward earlier this month.


In oil and gas news, there’s a new owner of Furie Operating Alaska, which went Chapter 11 in August. The successful bidder was Hex LLC, wholly-owned by John Hendrix, who has worked for Apache Corporation and NANA Commercial Group, and was Gov. Bill Walker’s chief oil and gas advisor. He formed Hex LLC in November.
    The winning bid in bankruptcy court was 15-million-and-10-dollars, for which Hendrix receives Furie’s Cook Inlet Kitchen Lights offshore unit and the Julius R offshore platform, as well as onshore assets in Nikiski.

Environmental groups challenge Hilcorp plans

Sep 5, 2019


Hilcorp will face a legal battle before it can begin its proposed seismic testing in Cook Inlet near Homer.

Hilcorp files modest Cook Inlet plans for 2019-2020

May 14, 2019


Hilcorp has filed its plans for the coming year with the state and little new work will be done on its Cook Inlet operations. The independent, Texas-based company produced 85% of the gas that came from Cook Inlet last year, with daily production approaching 200 million cubic feet.

Assembly approves Anchor Point lease for Hilcorp

Nov 26, 2018

Oil and gas exploration on the southern peninsula has picked up considerably the past several years. Hilcorp has been responsible for much of the activity. The company recently leased nearly 20 acres from the Kenai Peninsula Borough near Anchor Point.

Hilcorp lays out five year Cook Inlet plan

Nov 6, 2018


The state’s third largest oil and gas company is preparing to expand its operational footprint in Cook Inlet. Hilcorp recently filed an application for the incidental take of marine mammals with the National Marine Fisheries Service.

ECON 919 - Oil demand and industry hopes continue to rise

Aug 24, 2018


The state’s biggest economic engine, for good or ill, remains oil and gas.



Cook Inlet Pipeline gets thumbs up from regulators

Jul 27, 2018

The Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) has approved applications allowing Cook Inlet Pipeline Company (CIPL) to proceed full speed ahead with construction and rerouting of oil and gas lines in Cook Inlet and on both sides.

The goal is to ship crude oil from the inlet directly to the Andeavor refinery in Nikiski. That will allow Hilcorp Alaska to close the Drift River tank farm and dismantle it. The farm at the mouth of the Drift River, is regularly threatened by volcanic eruptions from Mount Redoubt.

Hilcorp applies to decommission Drift River terminal

Jun 11, 2018
Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation

Hilcorp subsidiary Cook Inlet Pipeline Company has applied to permanently shut down the Drift River Terminal on the west side of Cook Inlet.

The Alaska Oil and Gas Association has announced its yearly industry awards in advance of its annual conference scheduled for the end of the month in Anchorage.

Among them are awards for safety, environmental stewardship, and lifetime achievement.

The Rising Star Award, according to the association, "honors an oil and gas industry professional under the age of 35, who has made an immediate and definitive impact on the oil and gas industry in Alaska."

CIPL gets temp OK for undersea pipeline work

Mar 27, 2018

The project to change the way oil and gas is transported in and around Cook Inlet has gotten an initial okay to head underwater. Earlier this month, the Regulatory Commission of Alaska granted a temporary construction permit to the Cook Inlet Pipeline Company for the offshore section of the Tyonek Pipeline. 

The RCA previously approved two temporary construction permits for onshore construction work.

KPEDD Forum: Hilcorp

Jan 12, 2018

Chad Helgeson, operations manager, highlights Hilcop projects.

Hilcorp touts Liberty project

Oct 25, 2017
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management


A project manager for Hilcorp was in Soldotna Wednesday drumming up support for the company’s ambitious plans for a new project on the North Slope. Before a joint meeting of the Kenai and Soldotna chambers of commerce, Liberty project manager Mike Dunn says oil workers on the Kenai Peninsula are filling jobs at Hilcorp’s similar wells in the Beaufort Sea.

“There’s probably 10 or 15 guys on that island that live on the Kenai Peninsula,” he said.

Violations not keeping Hilcorp from bigger plans

Aug 11, 2017

News of another spill, this one of an oil-based drilling mud on the Steelhead platform in Cook Inlet, coincided with a piece by journalist Sabrina Shankman in Inside Climate News about Texas-based Hilcorp.

ADEC - S. Russell / ADEC

About every 25 or so years, statistically, mud rushing down the side of Mount Redoubt as the result of volcanic eruption threatens the Drift River oil storage facility and terminal on the west side of Cook Inlet. If all goes as planned, a new project by Harvest Alaska, a subsidiary of Hilcorp, will mitigate those dangers and simplify the pipeline infrastructure in and around the inlet.

Richard Novacaski, Alaska Operations Manager for Harvest Alaska, outlined the Cross-Inlet Pipeline Extension for members of the Kenai Chamber of Commerce at its weekly luncheon Wednesday at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center.