NORTH SLOPE OIL AND GAS LEASE SALE NETS SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF BIDS
December 09, 2011
The State of Alaska received more than 300 bids from more than 15 bidders for oil and gas lease tracts on the North Slope and the Beaufort Sea, totaling more than $21 million, signifying one of the most successful sales in recent Alaska history. BLM received 20 bids on 17 tracts, totaling over $3 million.
The bids were opened at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, December 7, 2011, in Anchorage. The bid opening was open to the public.
Wednesday's lease sale was an important, positive step that attracted additional investment to the North Slope said Governor Parnell. “Reversing the declining flow of oil through TAPS and getting to one million barrels per day is critical to our economy and the nation's energy security,” said the Governor.
The Parnell administration this year announced a “Secure Alaska’s Future” strategy to achieve the one million barrel daily throughput goal within ten years. As part of the strategy, the Department of Natural Resources has been promoting the North Slope lease sale and the positive attributes of the region's hydrocarbon basin to local, national, and international markets. This effort has included outreach to a wide array of stakeholders, including energy companies, investors, federal agencies, community groups and journalists.
"One of our immediate goals for this lease sale was to increase the number and type of investors and companies investing in Alaska,” said Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan. “We are pleased that the sale was successful in this respect, but there is certainly an opportunity to do more in the future to attract additional investment.”
In a prepared statement U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) said, “Today’s bids to develop additional North Slope oil are more good news for Alaska. Combined with recent steps forward on offshore permitting and today’s state lease sale, we’re finally making progress opening federal lands and waters in Alaska’s Arctic for responsible oil and gas development. I’m pleased to see the industry respond positively."
Begich said, “With nearly 900 million barrels of conventional, undiscovered oil and 53 trillion cubic feet of gas within NPRA and adjacent state lands, the NPR-A can be an important source of oil to bridge the gap between declining North Slope production and development of the resources in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.”
Begich encouraged the Department of Interior to ensure that all companies seeking to develop in the NRP-A can access their leases via a bridge over a channel of the Colville River. He said that access, expected to be approved later this month in final, helped encourage industry interest Wednesday.
Exploration wells and seismic investigations indicate that commercial quantities of oil are more likely to lie within approximately 25 miles of the eastern boundary of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A).
Created by President Harding in 1923 as a Naval Petroleum Reserve, the 23 million acre reserve became the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) in 1976. The BLM has held six lease tract sales have in the Northwest (NW) and Northeast (NE) Planning Areas since 1999. The BLM currently administers approximately 170 federal oil and gas leases in the reserve, including the one on which ConocoPhillips’ CD-5 prospect lies.
The preliminary results of the lease sale will be published on the division’s web site, http://www.dog.dnr.alaska.gov. The results will remain preliminary until title and survey work is completed.
Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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