Company denies Prudhoe layoffs connected to VECO

Downsizing affects about 200 workers

Posted: Monday, October 01, 2007

ANCHORAGE - Recent layoffs of Prudhoe Bay oil field workers has nothing to do with the scandal that surrounded VECO Corp., according to CH2M Hill, the company that recently bought VECO.

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The layoffs are a seasonal manpower reduction and include employees assigned to inspect pipelines for corrosion, according to spokesmen for BP Alaska and the workers' new Colorado-based employer, CH2M Hill.

John Corsi, a spokesman for CH2M Hill said the number of workers affected is fewer than 200.

The work force downsizing "has nothing to do with the acquisition" of VECO, Corsi said. "We didn't come in with a plan that we had to be at a certain size or number of employees."

CH2M Hill contracts with BP to perform the corrosion inspections of oil transit pipelines.

The remaining inspection crews will still be eight to 10 times the number of employees doing such work in the winter until a few years ago, said BP spokesman Daren Beaudo.

CH2M Hill's contracts for North Slope oil producers were owned by VECO until a few weeks ago, when VECO was purchased by CH2M Hill. VECO's employees are now CH2M Hill's employees.

Since early 2006, BP's North Slope operations have come under scrutiny from Congress, regulators and others because of a series of corrosion-related leaks and maintenance shortcomings.

BP increased its work crews for pipeline corrosion inspections in August 2006, Beaudo said. "It was a big program to inspect the oil transit line, so now we're getting back to what we consider a normal staffing," he said.

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