Alaska North Slope/Beaufort tracts draw 92 lease bids

Winning offers totaled $5.4 million as several bidding groups submitted 92 bids for 91 North Slope and Beaufort Sea exploratory tracts in Alaska areawide lease sales Nov. 6.

No bids were received for North Slope Foothills tracts, the state Department of Natural Resources said.

Preliminary results show that the DNR’s Division of Oil and Gas received 90 bids from eight bidding groups on 89 tracts in the North Slope Areawide sale and two bids from one bidding group on two tracts in the Beaufort Sea Areawide sale. Those tracts totaled 162,163 acres on the North Slope and 5,120 acres in the Beaufort.

The most active bidder was Nordaq Energy Inc., which submitted bids on 52 North Slope parcels.

Acting Commissioner Joe Balash expressed encouragement at the day’s results. “The robust participation we’ve seen in our lease sales over the last 4 years is a critical step in reaching our long-term goal of boosting oil production in Alaska.”

In the past several years, bidders have obtained leases on much of the state-owned acreage on the North Slope and in the Beaufort Sea that is considered highly prospective for oil and gas development, Balash noted.

“It is a clear sign that investors have great confidence in the future of development on the North Slope when they invest in additional oil and gas leases. They continue to see opportunities on our North Slope lands for new oil production to increase oil flowing through the trans-Alaska pipeline to market,” Balash said.

The pipeline’s throughput has declined and is nearing minimal operational levels, and the state seeks to encourage production from new discoveries to avoid potentially leaving reserves in existing fields in the ground (OGJ, Nov. 4, 2013, p. 56).

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