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With over 95 individuals at the happy hour, we have a lot to share, and these updates won't cover everyone, but log onto the site and click on Who's Doing What to read more!

Upon arriving at the happy hour, Roger and Lorna Herrera were greeted by Pam Pope. Pam used to work for Roger in exploration and brought along a photo album from Roger's retirement party. Susie Holly is traveling, working at the school district and enjoying life!

David LaChance retired from BP after working in Kuwait, post-Alaska. "We've stayed in Alaska though have moved houses," posted David. 

Esther Fueg shared that she expected to live in Alaska for three years, and they have enjoyed their time so much they stayed. "We have lived here for 27 years; after BP, I thought I was semi retired, but I am enjoying retirement too much to work," said Esther. 
My career kept returning me to Alaska, and I retired there in 1999  - Harold Heinze

Harold Heinze joined Atlantic Richfield in 1965, and arrived in Alaska in 1969 when TAPS was put on hold for environmental review. "I left Alaska because the pipeline was put on hold, " said Harold. "Then I was among the first to move back when we were given the green light. When Harold retired from ARCO in 1999, he remained in Anchorage.

Also from ARCO was Gina Luckey who worked in external affairs 'spending the company's money' and enjoying a variety of responsibilities includign giving tours of the North Slope. Gina transitioned to ConocoPhillips Alaska, and retired in 2015. "I continue to live in Anchorage with my husband Ken. We're both enjoying retirement by spending time with family and friends, traveling, golf and gardening, to name a few." Patricia Lobel shared that she and Jed Chamberlain will vacation in Greece, celebrating Jed's retirement from COP Alaska. The couple enjoy a variety of activities including disc golf with David and Veronica Reem.

David had a good chuckle teasing Abhijeet Tambe about his sandals at the happy hour.

Mark shares that he is attempting to get started on this "retirement" thing after a 42-year working career. He caught up with a number of colleagues including Olga Fedorova who is working contract for Hilcorp, raising her son, finding time to exercise, even if it means a quick run up the hillside and back down, and agreeing to lead the Energy Alumni Club! John Hentges retired from COP Alaska and soon found himself employed with a Europen firm working in the carbon capture space. "Summers in Alaska are not to be wasted, and I let the company know I will be back in the fall," said John. With both of their children living in Anchorage, John and Christina are one of many alums staying in Anchorage.

After a 42 year career, I am attempting to get started on this 'retirement' thing  - Mark Pachak

Melissa and Brad Simpson are happy to be back in Anchorage with their two sons and their own activities keeping them busy. Melissa was with BP, working environmental and crisis management and Brad is with Hilcorp. Melissa shares that she worked for BP for 17 years between three different Business units; Alaska, Trinidad and Tobago, and Gulf of Mexico. "I now volunteer at my son's school, church, Catholic Social Services and I will start working at Providence Hospital as a volunteer in October. I am looking forward to reconnecting with former colleagues and make some new ones along the way."

I am looking forward to reconnecting with former colleagues and make some new ones 
- Melissa Simpson

We were sorry to miss a number of colleagues including Russ Doig and Linda Petrie who are traveling across Canada, Ken Elmore who was recovering from surgery, Janet and Troy Weiss who were river rafting, John Kurz who was on the Kenai, and Katria Kangas whose daugher was competing against the worlds top youth in a Spartan world champion race in Atlantis in the Bahamas. Katria was with BP Alaska from 2010 to 2018.


She is a Contracts Manager for developments and engineering for greenfield with Santos, and is also on the Board of Food Bank of Alaska. Katria's daughter, Zaylee Mullinax, won the World Spartan Youth Championship last year in Florida. 

New Members

We also welcome our newest members, including Cindy Bailey, Santos External Affairs; Brian Noel, Scharine Kirchoff, who is a fourth generation artist following her retirement; Joanne Jordan who shares she is spending her retirement between Wrangell St Elias Park, Maui, and Idaho; Renée Salvucci, Kitty Kincaid who is working an aviation contract as a Program Analyst, which she shares involves lots of Data Analysis and Scheduling in P6; Terri Norene, Conoco Phillips Alaska HR; and Karen Thomas.

ARCO and BP alumnus John Kurz joined Alyeska Pipeline in April of this year as the President and Chief Executive Officer.

“It’s exciting to be back working in Alaska and heading up Alyeska, an iconic Alaskan company,” John said. “Leading an organization and team of this significance is a tremendous responsibility and honor. And who would have predicted that I would do a third tour here? My three tours were actually with three different companies: ARCO, where I started my career in Anchorage in the 80’s working successively on the Prudhoe Bay, Lisburne, and Kuparuk fields; BP in the mid-2000’s heading up Operations for Prudhoe Bay; and now Alyeska."

John met and married his spouse, Cheryl (also an ARCO employee), in Anchorage, all three of his children were born here, and he holds a Master of Science Degree in Engineering Management from the University of Alaska.

It’s exciting to be back working in Alaska and heading up Alyeska, an iconic Alaskan company  - John Kurz

“We certainly have strong connections here,” John said. “After living and working overseas for so long, it has been special to reconnect with family and friends since we have been back. Our three children and their partners already visited in July, where we spent time on the Kenai Peninsula slaying reds, sea kayaking, hiking, and camping. With 75 family and friends joining, we also celebrated the 50 year anniversary of Cheryl’s family owning homestead property just outside Soldotna.”

Prior to joining Alyeska Pipeline, John was on the other side of the world with Australian-based Oil Search/Santos. The company’s Chief Operating Officer, John was involved in oil and gas developments in Papua New Guinea – oil fields that have been around for decades, and a 2-train LNG project sanctioned about 10 years ago. “A 2-train expansion is working through engineering and commercial negotiations,” he said. “I was responsible for all PNG operating activities except major projects. The PNG operations have many of the same issues you’d experience in any operation, so I was able to use my experience in Alaska and elsewhere to address the challenges and opportunities. Moreover, the Papua New Guineans are just wonderful people, and I really enjoyed working with them and helping them develop into a high performance organization. That’s the most rewarding part of the job,” said John.

John shares that he has been fortunate in his career. “I have had some really great opportunities,” he said. “I worked in Indonesia for 6 years, Egypt for 2, Azerbaijan for 7, and lived in Dubai while working in Iraq. Cheryl has traveled the globe with me and we are both thrilled to be back in Anchorage. Prior to University the kids went with us, so they are true third culture kids. The travel bug has also bit us all — Madison, our oldest, has the family lead at about 55 countries. It has been a wonderful experience for all of us for sure,” said John.

It has been special to reconnect with family and friends since we came back  - John Kurz



Northern Lights Energy Alumni welcomes the following individuals to the board:

Olga Fedorova, President; Pam Pope, Vice President, Joan Kulish, Treasurer and returning board member, Katie Nitzberg Parmelee, Secretary.

Olga Fedorova is currently consulting as a mechanical engineer in the energy industry; she started her own company after the birth of her wonderful son Yuri. Prior to that, Olga worked for Hilcorp Energy and BP Alaska for 13 years in various technical and leadership capacities. If not parenting or working, you'll find her biking, running or skiing in the great Alaska outdoors.

Pamela Pope retired from BP after 34 years as a HSE Professional in Alaska and the UK.  Pam now is a volunteer ski patroller, travels to do walking trips and does many other outdoor sports.  Pam also manages the Northern Lights Energy Alumni facebook page, which you can join here.

Joan Kulish retired from BP Alaska after 19 years as an Administrative Professional and Petro-Technologist. Her background also includes 10 years with American Guard & Alert/Wackenhut Security providing security guards & medics to the Trans Alaska Pipeline, North Slope oil & gas fields, the Kenai peninsula, and other areas within the state of Alaska. She is currently employed by GCI as a Support Services Manager.  In her free, time Joan likes to putter around the yard and greenhouse, needle crafts, baking, traveling and spending time with her family.

Katie Nitzberg Parmelee is a long-time  board member of the Northern Lights Retiree Club, providing continuity as the club moves forward.  She began her energy industry career with ARCO and retired after 30+ years as a BP Alaska petroleum geologist.


Thank you to Advancial and Alaska Oil and Gas Association (AOGA) for hosting Houston Energy Alumni at Fratelli's. Kara Moriarty, CEO and President, AOGA, shared information on the industry in Alaska, which generated a number of questions from those in the audience. It was a great evening of delicious Italian ravioli, meatballs, bruchetta and pizza, beverages and a chance to catch up with friends and colleagues. The swag on the tables was a mix of eclectic items from measuring cups and first aid kits to collapsible bowls and pocket mirrors. All the swag was gone by the end of the evening.

A number of BP Alaska alums are adding their engineering expertise in BP locations from Angola and Trinidad to the Gulf of Mexico. Dave Daum, who joined BP Alaska in 2012, was able to attend the happy hour, having just returned from BP Angola. Dave is leaving BP to join Summit Carbon Solutions in Iowa from May 1. We look forward to sharing more about Dave's role building a carbon capture and sequestration pipeline once he settles into his new position with Summit Carbon Solutions. Laurie Climer joined BP in 2007 and is currently working GOM in Houston. After several years working in Russia, petroleum engineer Irwin Chau is working the Gulf of Mexico for the Na Kika asset. Tiffany Quy is in Houston after a number of exciting international assignments including Trinidad and Angola.

Chidi Igbokwe was teased by Kara Moriarty, AOGA, about being able to answer any tough Alaska questions, but Kara kept the stage and Chidi enjoyed catching up with friends.

With over 100 BP Alaska alums now working in Houston for BP, we were happy to have a number of people join the BP Alaska / Energy Alumni website including Michael Soules, Mare Bellinger, Charles Reynolds, Eliot Townsend, Kristin Sullivan and Anne-Christine Aycaguer. Thank you to Whitney King, Tiffany Quy and others who helped to spread the word.

Determination and grit define the Alaska energy industry 
- Kara Moriarty, AOGA
Great hearing from AOGA's Kara Moriarty about the Willow and Pikka development projects. I've since found that the AOGA website is a great resource for Alaska oil and gas news...and jobs
- Scott Tinkham

A special thank you to our sponsors, Advancial and AOGA. Julie Hardegree, Advancial, presents one of the door prizes to Irwin Chou, BP, Gulf of Mexico. Jim Sikes, Hilcorp Energy, Cindy Stowell, EOG Resources, Vicki Rau, Magna Oil and Gas, and Walt Bozeman also won door prizes.















ConocoPhillips Alaska announced that funding for the Nuna Project was approved. Before that, the company posted a press release Monday, March 13 announcing the Biden administration's approval of its decade long development plan for producing oil and gas for the nation and on June 1, the company announced that funding for the Nuna Project was approved..

Read the ConocoPhillips Willow Project Press Release here and the announcement issued by Alaska Oil and Gas Association on behalf of Alaska unions and business organizations.

Robin Glover, Senior Environmental Assurance Coordinator, ConocoPhillips in Houston, is excited that the Department of the Interior issued the Willow Record of Decision, adopting the three-pad project, and the Federal judge ruled that the Willow Project construction can move forward as environmental groups’ lawsuits proceed. "This is great news for Alaska and our nation as this project is important in securing America’s energy future," said Robin. "The world will still need hydrocarbons through the energy transition, and Willow can provide those in an environmentally and socially responsible way. Responsible operations are especially important in the sensitive ecosystem of Alaska’s North Slope. As a former ConocoPhillips Alaska employee, I can attest to the company’s commitment to environmental and social stewardship in Alaska."

Said ARCO and BP Alaska Alumnus, Frank Paskvan, “I'm onboard for Willow development. Willow plays a big part of America’s energy transition plan, and it's strongly supported by Alaskans across the State. ConocoPhillips is a great operator and we can do environmentally sound development in Alaska better than anywhere else".

Scott Tinkham, oil and gas professional and Baker Hughes alumnus, shared from the April 6 New York Times: “One of the biggest beneficiaries of the Willow project will be the North Slope Borough, which includes the eight communities across the northernmost part of the United States. About 95 percent of the borough’s annual $410 million budget comes from local taxes on oil and gas operations.

Oil money pays for a range of things, including a new basketball floor at the recreation center in Utqiagvik and heating bills for Nuiqsut residents.” The New York Times reported on April 6:

In Nuiqsut, a village of about 500 people and the closest town to the site of the drilling project, the only hotel is booked solid. It’s the Kuukpik Hotel, a row of metal trailers that also hosts the cafeteria that serves as the only restaurant in town — in fact, the only one for hundreds of miles. Sitting in the cafeteria on a recent Wednesday (“Steak Night” at the Kuukpik) oil workers from California, Oklahoma and other parts of Alaska said they were excited by the years of employment promised by the project, known as Willow. “I can probably retire on it,” one man said. 

A transition to renewable energy is going to take a long time, said Connor Dunn, a ConocoPhillips manager in Alaska. “There is going to be a significant need for U.S. domestic oil production for a great many decades to come,” he said. 

Willow will consist of as many as 199 wells spread across three drill sites, which the company believes could produce nearly 600 million barrels of oil over 30 years. That would make it the largest oil project in the United States.

Elevated pipelines seven feet above ground would carry oil from the drill sites to existing pipes at the Alpine site, eventually connecting with the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which stretches 800 miles from Alaska’s North Slope to Valdez in southern Alaska.

Another New York Times article on the same day shared that an analysis of global data shows that Willow represents a small fraction of hundreds of new oil and gas extraction projects approved in the past year across the world, including many more in the United States. And in the coming months, dozens of additional projects are expected to be approved.

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