Anchorage startup lands deal with BP

July 10, 2018 by  

A young Anchorage company has landed a deal with oil giant BP whereby the company will build a local plant to manufacture antifreeze in Alaska.

Antifreeze is used by the major oil producing companies to keep pipelines and wells from freezing, but for years companies on the North Slope have been importing methanol, using oceangoing tankers and then trucks to haul it to their operating sites. The chemicals come from as far away as China and Trinidad.

What JR Wilcox, principal of Prudhoe Bay Chemical, proposes is to build the plant and use water and natural gas from the oil field at Prudhoe Bay to manufacture the antifreeze. Wilcox says it is not logical to ship methanol thousands of miles when there are resources available in Alaska to manufacture products locally.

Wilcox worked on his idea in The Boardroom, a co-working space in Anchorage; co-working spaces are communal areas where people from startups, entrepreneurs, and others can have access to office equipment and other resources without having to lease expensive offices. The payoff came recently, when BP and Prudhoe Bay Chemical signed an agreement. BP said it wanted to support an Alaskan company that could improve the way North Slope companies operate.

The plant will have a footprint of almost a half-acre, and could be producing methanol as soon as 2020.

Young companies like this could distribute promotional products to early customers, to help build brand recognition.