In a ground-breaking announcement on the last day of July, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC) and six North Slope village corporations joined together to create a new company known as Arctic Inupiat Offshore, LLC (AIO). AIO and Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc. (Shell) entered into a binding agreement that will allow AIO the option to acquire an interest in Shell's acreage and activities on its Chukchi Sea leases. This interest will be managed by AIO.
AIO members include ASRC, Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation, Tikigaq Corporation, Olgoonik Corporation, Kaktovik Inupiat Corporation, Atqasuk Corporation and Nunamiut Corporation. These corporations represent the communities of Barrow, Point Hope, Wainwright, Kaktovik, Atqasuk, and Anaktuvuk Pass.
Rex A. Rock Sr., president and CEO for ASRC, will also serve as the president for AIO. He commented, "Our region has always been a leader in strategic partnerships that provide meaningful benefits to our shareholders, to our people." Rock further stated, "I am humbled to acknowledge that this arrangement balances the risk of OCS development borne by our coastal communities, with the benefits intended to support our communities and our people."
Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation president and CEO, Anthony E. Edwardsen will serve as Chairman of AIO. Edwardsen remarked, "Our values teach us that we achieve success by putting the needs of our community at the center of all that we do. It is important that our community has a seat at the table to represent the subsistence and economic needs of our shareholders. Through AIO we will have meaningful input into this process while providing benefits back to our shareholders."
"This is an important day for our Alaska Venture," said Shell Alaska Vice President, Pete Slaiby. "A regional alliance with so many respected Alaska Native Corporations provides Shell the opportunity to collaborate with savvy and experienced North Slope business partners going forward. It also underscores our commitment to provide opportunities for North Slope communities to directly benefit from Shell's activities offshore Alaska."
Sayers Tuzroyluk, Chairman of the Board of Tikigaq Corporation, will also serve as the secretary and treasurer of AIO. Tuzroyluk explained, "Tikigaq borders the Arctic coastline, and we finally have a mechanism to share in the benefits from responsible off-shore oil and gas development. The creation of AIO opens the opportunity to do business with respect to oil and gas...