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Refiner Says BP Owes it $20 Million

ANCHORAGE (CN) - In defiance of the Alaska Supreme Court, BP refuses to fork over $20 million it overcharged for crude oil delivered through the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline, a North Pole-based refiner says.

Petro Star, based in North Pole, Alaska, says the Regulatory Commission of Alaska ordered that refunds be paid for crude oil delivered through the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline (TAPS), and that in 2008 the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in favor of the commission, and against the "TAPS carriers ... in all respects."

Petro Star says BP Oil Supply Co. owes it $20 million in refunds, and refuses to pay up.

Petro Star says it has overpaid for BP's crude oil shipped to its North Pole and Valdez refineries since 1991.

"By failing and refusing to pay over to Petro Star the refund amounts and interest BP has collected pursuant to the RCA's order, BP is enjoying a windfall at Petro Star's expense," the complaint states. "Petro Star bore the economic cost of intrastate shipping charges that the RCA [Regulatory Commission of Alaska] has determined were illegal, but BP is now holding for itself the remedy ordered by the RCA for those illegal overcharges.

The RCA determined in 2000 that the TAPS rates were unjust and unreasonable under the Alaska Pipeline Act, and issued its order compelling TAPS carriers to reduce their rates and pay refunds plus interest.

The TAPS carriers appealed and litigated for 8 years, until the Alaska Supreme Court issued its final ruling.

But BP still refuses to pony up, Petro Star says.

It seeks reformation of contract, restitution and damages for breach of contract, and unjust enrichment.

Petro Star is represented by Patricia Zobel of Anchorage and Parker Folse III of Seattle.

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