About the BP Prudhoe Bay Trust (BPT)
Description of the trust from its 2016 10-K:
BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust (the “Trust”) was created as a Delaware business trust by the BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust Agreement dated February 28, 1989 (the “Trust Agreement”) among The Standard Oil Company (“Standard Oil”), BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. (“BP Alaska”), The Bank of New York Mellon (formerly named The Bank of New York), as trustee, and F. James Hutchinson, co-trustee (BNY Mellon Trust of Delaware, formerly named The Bank of New York (Delaware), successor co-trustee). BP Alaska and Standard Oil are wholly owned subsidiaries of BP p.l.c. (“BP”).
Effective as of December 15, 2010, The Bank of New York Mellon (“BNYM”) resigned as trustee under the Trust Agreement and BP Alaska appointed The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A. (the “Trust Company”) to succeed BNYM as trustee. The Trust Company accepted its appointment and assumed all rights, titles, duties, powers and authority formerly held and exercised by BNYM under the Trust Agreement. The corporate trust office of the Trust Company (which we refer to hereafter as the “Trustee”) at which the affairs of the Trust are administered is located at 601 Travis Street, Floor 16, Houston, Texas 77002 and its telephone number at that address is (713) 483-6020.
The Trust electronically files annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and, when certain events require them, current reports on Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The public may read and copy any materials filed by the Trust with the SEC at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549. The public may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. The SEC also maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers (including the Trust) that file electronically with the SEC. The address of the SEC’s website is http://www.sec.gov.
The Trust does not maintain an Internet website, but certain information concerning the Trust and the Trust Units may be obtained from the BusinessWire website at the following page location: http://bpt.investorhq.businesswire.com. The Trustee will provide paper or electronic copies of the Trust’s reports on Form 10-K, Form 10-Q and Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports, free of charge upon request as soon as reasonably practicable after the Trust files them with the SEC. Requests for copies of reports may be made by mail to: The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A., 601 Travis Street, Floor 16, Houston, TX 77002, Attention: Global Corporate Trust – Corporate Finance; by telephone to: (713) 483-6020; or by e-mail to: email@example.com.
The information in this report relating to the Prudhoe Bay Unit, the calculation of royalty payments and certain other matters has been furnished to the Trustee by BP Alaska.
The Trust has no employees. All administrative functions of the Trust are performed by the Trustee.
The term “barrel” is a unit of measure of petroleum liquids equal to 42 United States gallons corrected to 60 degrees Fahrenheit temperature.
Duties and Powers of the Trustee
The duties of the Trustee are specified in the Trust Agreement and the laws of the State of Delaware. BNY Mellon Trust of Delaware has been appointed co-trustee in order to satisfy the Delaware Statutory Trust Act’s requirement that the Trust have at least one trustee resident in, or which has its principal place of business in, Delaware. However, The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A. alone is able to exercise the rights and powers granted to the Trustee in the Trust Agreement. A copy of the Trust Agreement is filed with the SEC as an exhibit to this report.
The basic function of the Trustee is to collect income from the Royalty Interest, to pay all expenses, charges and obligations of the Trust from the Trust’s income and assets, and to pay available cash to Unit holders. Because of the passive nature of the Trust’s assets and the restrictions on the power of the Trustee to incur obligations, the only liabilities that the Trust normally incurs in the conduct of its operations are the Trustee’s fees and routine administrative expenses, including accounting, legal and other professional fees.
The Trust Agreement grants the Trustee only the rights and powers necessary to achieve the purposes of the Trust. The Trust Agreement prohibits the Trust from engaging in any business or commercial activity or, with certain exceptions, any investment activity and from using any assets of the Trust to acquire any oil and gas lease, royalty or other mineral interest.
The Trustee is entitled to be indemnified out of the assets of the Trust for any liability or loss incurred by it in the performance of its duties unless the loss results from its negligence, bad faith or fraud or from expenses incurred in carrying out its duties that exceed the compensation and reimbursement to which it is entitled under the Trust Agreement.
Sales of Royalty Interest; Borrowings and Reserves
With certain exceptions, the Trustee may sell all or part of the Royalty Interest or an interest therein only if authorized to do so by vote of the holders of 60% of the Units outstanding. However, if the sale is made in order to pay specific liabilities of the Trust then due and involves a part, but not all or substantially all, of the Trust properties, the sale only needs to be approved by the vote of holders of a majority of the Units. Any sale of Trust properties must be for cash unless otherwise authorized by the Unit holders. The Trustee is obligated to distribute the available net proceeds of any such sale to the Unit holders after establishing reserves for liabilities of the Trust.
The Trustee has the power to borrow on behalf of the Trust or to sell Trust assets to pay liabilities of the Trust and to establish a reserve for the payment of liabilities without the consent of the Unit holders under the following circumstances:
The Trustee may borrow from a lender not affiliated with the Trustee if cash on hand is not sufficient to pay current liabilities and the Trustee has determined that it is not practical to pay such liabilities out of funds anticipated to be available in subsequent quarters and that, without such borrowing, the Trust property is subject to the risk of loss or diminution in value. To secure payment of its borrowings on behalf of the Trust, the Trustee is authorized to encumber the Trust’s assets and to carve out and convey production payments. The borrowing must be on terms which (in the opinion of an investment banking firm or commercial banking firm selected by the Trustee) are commercially reasonable when compared to other available alternatives. No distributions to Unit holders may be made until the borrowings by the Trust have been repaid in full.
If the Trustee is unable to borrow to pay Trust liabilities, the Trustee may sell Trust assets if it determines that the failure to pay the liabilities at a later date will be contrary to the best interest of the Unit holders and that it is not practicable to submit the sale to a vote of the Unit holders. The sale must be made for cash at a price which (in the opinion of an investment banking firm or commercial banking firm selected by the Trustee) is at least equal to the fair market value of the interest sold and is made on commercially reasonable terms when compared to other available alternatives.
The Trustee has the right to establish a cash reserve for the payment of material liabilities of the Trust which may become due if it determines that it is not practical to pay such liabilities out of funds anticipated to be available in subsequent quarters and that, in the absence of a reserve, the Trust property is subject to the risk of loss or diminution in value or the Trustee is subject to the risk of personal liability for such liabilities.
In order for the Trustee to borrow, sell assets to pay Trust liabilities or establish a reserve for Trust liabilities, the Trustee must receive an unqualified written legal opinion that the contemplated action will not adversely affect the classification of the Trust as a “grantor trust” for federal income tax purposes or cause the income from the Trust to be treated as unrelated business taxable income for federal income tax purposes. If the Trustee is unable to obtain the required legal opinion, it still may proceed with the borrowing or sale, or establish the reserve, if it determines that the failure to do so will be materially detrimental to the Unit holders considered as a whole.
The Trustee maintains a $1,000,000 cash reserve to provide liquidity to the Trust during any periods in which the Trust does not receive a distribution from BP Alaska. See Item 7 in Part II below.
Irrevocability; Amendment of the Trust Agreement
The Trust Agreement and the Trust are irrevocable. No person has the power to terminate, revoke or change the Trust Agreement except as described in the following paragraph and below under “Termination of the Trust.”
The Trust Agreement may be amended without a vote of the Unit holders to cure an ambiguity, to correct or supplement any provision of the Trust Agreement that may be inconsistent with any other provision or to make any other provision with respect to matters arising under the Trust Agreement that does not adversely affect the Unit holders. The Trust Agreement also may be amended with the approval of holders of a majority of the outstanding Units. However, no such amendment may alter the relative rights of Unit holders unless approved by the affirmative vote of holders of 100% of the outstanding Units, nor may any amendment reduce or delay the distributions to the Unit holders, alter the voting rights of Unit holders or the number of Units in the Trust, or make certain other changes, unless approved by the affirmative vote of holders of at least 80% of the outstanding Units and by the Trustee. The Trustee is required to consent to any amendment approved by the requisite vote of Unit holders unless the amendment affects the Trustee’s rights, duties and immunities under the Trust Agreement. No amendment will be effective until the Trustee has received a ruling from the Internal Revenue Service or an opinion of counsel to the effect that such modification will not adversely affect the classification of the Trust as a “grantor trust” for federal income tax purposes or cause the income from the Trust to be treated as unrelated business taxable income for federal income tax purposes.
Termination of the Trust
The Trust will terminate if either (a) holders of at least 60% of the outstanding Units vote to terminate the Trust or (b) the net revenues from the Royalty Interest for two successive years are less than $1,000,000 per year (unless the net revenues during the two-year period have been materially and adversely affected by certain extraordinary events).
Upon termination of the Trust, BP Alaska will have an option to purchase the Royalty Interest at a price equal to the greater of (i) the fair market value of the Trust property as set forth in an opinion of an investment banking firm, commercial banking firm or other entity qualified to give an opinion as to the fair market value of the assets of the Trust, or (ii) the number of outstanding Units multiplied by (a) the closing price of Units on the day of termination of the Trust on the stock exchange on which the Units are listed, or (b) if the Units are not listed on any stock exchange but are traded in the over-the-counter market, the closing bid price on the day of termination of the Trust as quoted on the NASDAQ Stock Market. The purchase must be for cash unless holders of 60% of the Units outstanding authorize the sale for non-cash consideration and the Trustee has received a ruling from the Internal Revenue Service or an opinion of counsel to the effect that such non-cash sale will not adversely affect the classification of the Trust as a “grantor trust” for federal income tax purposes or cause the income from the Trust to be treated as unrelated business taxable income for federal income tax purposes.
If BP Alaska does not exercise its option, the Trustee will sell the Trust property on terms and conditions approved by the vote of holders of 60% of the outstanding Units, unless the Trustee determines that it is not practicable to submit the matter to a vote of the Unit holders and the sale is made at a price at least equal to the fair market value of the Trust property as set forth in the opinion of the investment banking firm, commercial banking firm or other entity mentioned above and on terms and conditions deemed commercially reasonable by that firm.
The Trustee will distribute all available proceeds to the Unit holders after satisfying all existing liabilities of the Trust and establishing adequate reserves for the payment of contingent liabilities.
Unit holders do not have the right under the Trust Agreement to seek or secure any partition or distribution of the Royalty Interest or any other asset of the Trust or any accounting during the term of the Trust or during any period of liquidation and winding up.
Resignation or Removal of Trustee
The Trustee may resign at any time or be removed with or without cause by vote of the holders of a majority of the outstanding Units at a meeting called and held in accordance with the Trust Agreement. A successor trustee may be appointed by BP Alaska or, if the Trustee has been removed at a meeting of the Unit holders, the successor trustee may be appointed by the Unit holders at the meeting. Any successor trustee must be a corporation organized, doing business and authorized to exercise trust powers under the laws of the United States, any state thereof or the District of Columbia, or a national banking association domiciled in the United States, in either case having a combined capital, surplus and undivided profits of at least $50,000,000 and subject to supervision or examination by federal or state authorities. Unless the Trust already has a trustee that is a resident of or has a principal office in Delaware, any successor trustee must be a resident of Delaware or have a principal office in Delaware. No resignation or removal of the Trustee will become effective until a successor trustee has accepted appointment.
Voting Rights of Unit Holders
Unit holders possess certain voting rights, but their voting rights are not comparable to those of shareholders of a corporation. For example, there is no requirement for annual meetings of Unit holders or for periodic reelection of the Trustee.
A meeting of the Unit holders may be called at any time to act with respect to any matter as to which the Trust Agreement authorizes the Unit holders to act. Any such meeting may be called by the Trustee in its discretion and will be called by the Trustee (i) as soon as practicable after receipt of a written request by BP Alaska or a written request that sets forth in reasonable detail the action proposed to be taken at the meeting and is signed by holders of at least 25% of the outstanding Units or (ii) when required by applicable laws or regulations or the New York Stock Exchange. The Trustee will give written notice of any meeting stating the time and place of the meeting and the matters to be acted on not more than 60 days nor fewer than 10 days before the meeting to all Unit holders of record on a date not more than 60 days before the meeting at their addresses shown on the records of the Trust. All meetings of Unit holders are required to be held in Manhattan, New York City. Unit holders are entitled to cast one vote on all matters coming before a meeting, in person or by proxy, for each Unit held on the record date for the meeting.
THE ROYALTY INTEREST
The Royalty Interest is a property right under Alaska law which burdens production, but there is no other security interest in the reserves or production revenues assigned to it. The royalty payable to the Trust for each calendar quarter is the sum of the amounts obtained by multiplying Royalty Production for each day in the calendar quarter by the Per Barrel Royalty for that day. The payment under the Royalty Interest for any calendar quarter may not be less than zero nor more than the aggregate value of the total production of oil and condensate from BP Alaska’s working interest in the Prudhoe Bay Unit for the quarter, net of the State of Alaska royalty and less the value of any applicable payments made to affiliates of BP Alaska.
The “Royalty Production” for each day in a calendar quarter is 16.4246% of the lesser of (i) the first 90,000 barrels of the actual average daily net production of crude oil and condensate for the quarter from the Prudhoe Bay (Permo-Triassic) Reservoir and saved and allocated to the oil and gas leases owned by BP Alaska in the Prudhoe Bay field as of February 28, 1989 (the “1989 Working Interests”), or (ii) the actual average daily net production of crude oil and condensate for the quarter from the 1989 Working Interests. The Royalty Production is based on oil produced from the oil rim and condensate produced from the gas cap, but not on gas production or natural gas liquids production. The actual average daily net production of oil and condensate from the 1989 Working Interests for any calendar quarter is the total production of oil and condensate for the quarter, net of the State of Alaska royalty, divided by the number of days in the quarter.
Per Barrel Royalty
The “Per Barrel Royalty” for any day is the WTI Price for the day less the sum of (i) Chargeable Costs multiplied by the Cost Adjustment Factor and (ii) Production Taxes.
The “WTI Price” for any trading day is (i) the price (in dollars per barrel) for West Texas intermediate crude oil of standard quality having a specific gravity of 40 API degrees for delivery at Cushing, Oklahoma (“West Texas Intermediate”) quoted for that trading day by whichever of The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, or Platts Oilgram Price Report, in that order, publishes West Texas Intermediate price quotations for the trading day, or (ii) if the price of West Texas Intermediate is not published by one of those publications, the WTI Price will be the simple average of the daily mean prices (in dollars per barrel) quoted for West Texas Intermediate by one major oil company, one petroleum broker and one petroleum trading company designated by BP Alaska, in each case unaffiliated with BP and having substantial U.S. operations, until published price quotations are again available. If prices for West Texas Intermediate are not quoted so as to permit the calculation of the WTI Price, the price of “West Texas Intermediate,” for the purposes of calculating the WTI Price will be the price of another light sweet domestic crude oil of standard quality designated by BP Alaska and approved by the Trustee, with appropriate allowance for transportation costs to the Gulf coast (or another appropriate location) to equilibrate its price to the WTI Price. The WTI Price for any day which is not a trading day is the WTI Price for the preceding trading day.
The “Chargeable Costs” per barrel of Royalty Production for each calendar year are fixed amounts specified in the Conveyance and do not necessarily represent BP Alaska’s actual costs of production. Chargeable Costs per barrel were $16.70 during 2012, $16.80 during 2013, $16.90 during 2014, $17.00 during 2015 and $17.10 during 2016. Chargeable Costs for 2017 and subsequent years are shown in the following table:
Calendar year [and] Chargeable Costs per barrel
After 2020, Chargeable Costs increase at a uniform rate of $2.75 per barrel per year.
Cost Adjustment Factor
The “Cost Adjustment Factor” for a quarter is the ratio of the Consumer Price Index published for the most recently past February, May, August or November to 121.1 (the Consumer Price Index for January 1989). The “Consumer Price Index” is the U.S. Consumer Price Index, all items and all urban consumers, U.S. city average (1982-84 equals 100), as first published, without seasonal adjustment, by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor, without regard to subsequent revisions or corrections. If the average WTI Price for any calendar quarter falls to $18.00 or less, the Cost Adjustment Factor for that quarter will be the Cost Adjustment Factor for the immediately preceding quarter. If the average WTI Price returns to more than $18.00 for a later quarter, adjustments to the Cost Adjustment Factor resume, but with an adjustment to the formula that excludes changes in the Consumer Price Index during the period that adjustments to the Cost Adjustment Factor were suspended.
“Production Taxes” are the sum of any severance taxes, excise taxes (including windfall profit tax, if any), sales taxes, value added taxes or other similar or direct taxes imposed upon the reserves or production, delivery or sale of Royalty Production, computed at defined statutory rates.
On April 14, 2013, Alaska’s legislature passed an oil-tax reform bill amending Alaska’s oil and gas production tax statutes, AS 43.55.10 et seq. (the “Production Tax Statutes”) with the aim of encouraging oil production and investment in Alaska’s oil industry. On May 21, 2013, the Governor of Alaska signed the bill into law as chapter 10 of the 2013 Session laws of Alaska (the “Act”). Among significant changes, the Act eliminated the monthly “progressivity” tax rate implemented by certain amendments to the Production Tax Statutes in 2006 and 2007, increased the base rate from 25% to 35% and added a stair-step per-barrel tax credit for oil production. This tax credit is based on the gross value at the point of production per barrel of taxable oil and may not reduce a producer’s tax liability below the “minimum tax” (which is a percentage, ranging from zero to 4%, of the gross value at the point of production of a producer’s taxable production during the calendar year based on the average price per barrel for Alaska North Slope crude oil for sale on the United States West Coast for the year) under the Production Tax Statutes. These changes became effective on January 1, 2014.
On January 15, 2014, the Trustee executed a letter agreement with BP Alaska dated January 15, 2014 (the “2014 Letter Agreement”) regarding the implementation of the Act with respect to the Trust. Pursuant to the 2014 Letter Agreement, Production Taxes for the Trust’s Royalty Production will equal the tax for the relevant quarter, minus the allowable monthly stair-step per-barrel tax credits for the Royalty Production during that quarter. If there is a “minimum tax”-related limitation on the amount of the stair-step per-barrel tax credits that could otherwise be claimed for any quarter during the year, any difference between that limitation as preliminarily determined on a quarterly basis and the actual limitation for the entire year will be reflected in the payment to the Trust for the first quarter Royalty Production in the following year.
On July 6, 2015, BP Alaska and the Trustee signed a letter agreement (the “2014 Letter Agreement Amendment”) amending the 2014 Letter Agreement to provide that if there is a “minimum tax”-related limitation on the amount of the stair-step per-barrel tax credits that could otherwise be claimed for any quarter during the year, any difference between that limitation as preliminarily determined on a quarterly basis and the actual limitation for the entire year will be reflected in the payment to the Trust for the fourth quarter Royalty Production payment for such year rather than in the payment to the Trust for the first quarter Royalty Production in the following year.
The 2014 Letter Agreement Amendment became effective immediately. Thus, for 2016 any difference between the limitation as preliminarily determined for the first through third quarters of 2016 and the actual limitation for 2016 will be reflected in the payment to the Trust for the fourth quarter of 2016, and not in the payment to the Trust for the first quarter of 2017.