Alaska in Brief

Alaska Gov. Dunleavy names former oil and gas lobbyist John Boyle as DNR commissioner

By: - December 16, 2022 4:17 pm

John Boyle, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, is seen in an undated photo provided by the Office of the Governor. (State of Alaska photo)

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy named former oil and gas lobbyist John Boyle to serve as commissioner of the agency in charge of oil and gas development in the state.

Boyle, whose appointment as head of the Department of Natural Resources was announced Friday, was director of government affairs for BP (formerly British Petroleum) from 2016 through 2019, when he joined Oil Search, a smaller oil and gas firm, as its government affairs director.

Oil Search subsequently was acquired by Santos, a firm now involved in litigation against ConocoPhillips about road access on the North Slope. DNR is involved in that lawsuit.

From 2017 through 2019, Boyle registered as a lobbyist for BP Exploration Alaska Inc.

“Commissioner Boyle will serve both the department and Alaskans with distinction,” Dunleavy said in a prepared statement. “His legal training, knowledge of Alaska’s resource industries and commitment to developing our resources to the maximum benefit of all Alaskans, and in the safest possible manner, make him an excellent choice to lead the department during my second term.”

Boyle, who holds a law degree from Brigham Young University, also worked as assistant borough attorney for the North Slope Borough and held other roles in borough government before joining BP.

Jeff Turner, a spokesperson for the governor’s office, said the administration believes Boyle can serve without undue deference toward the oil industry because of standards set by the executive ethics act.

“Mr. Boyle has professional skills and a proven record in resource development policy in multiple roles over many years in Alaska,” Turner said. “It also includes his time as a public servant for the North Slope Borough, one of the most resource development intensive areas in the United States.”

Boyle replaces Akis Gialopsos, who had been serving as acting commissioner since the retirement of commissioner Corri Feige in June.

Boyle’s nomination is subject to confirmation by the Alaska Legislature, but lawmakers have declined to confirm a cabinet-level appointee only once since statehood.


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James Brooks
James Brooks

James Brooks is a longtime Alaska reporter, having previously worked at the Anchorage Daily News, Juneau Empire, Kodiak Mirror and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. A graduate of Virginia Tech, he is married to Caitlyn Ellis, owns a house in Juneau and has a small sled dog named Barley. He can be contacted at [email protected]