Alaska is a U.S. oil and gas producing region for BP in which it has older assets, and BP's stake in Prudhoe Bay has been front and center in speculation about holdings that BP could sell.
BP operates 15 North Slope oil fields (including Prudhoe Bay, Endicott, Northstar and Milne Point), and four North Slope pipelines. The company also owns a significant interest in six other producing fields and in the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS). The North Slope region is the second largest resource for BP in the U.S., after the Gulf of Mexico. BP was one of the original developers of Prudhoe Bay and holds a 26% interest that has been at the center of M&A chatter. In a bit of BP PR disaster history in the U.S., corrosion in an Alaskan pipeline led to a 2006 oil spill that went undetected for five days and leaked over 5000 barrels of oil. BP had to shut down its production at Prudhoe Bay for 6 weeks during the summer. BP is also currently developing the Liberty Oil field, the largest undeveloped light oil field in its Alaskan portfolio. Production from Liberty is expected to commence in 2011.