Alaska to hold more North Slope Foothills lease sales

Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles said Thursday the state will add some North Slope Foothills area-wide oil and gas lease sales to its 2002-06 leasing schedule, to be released in January. Knowles said that was in response to increased industry interest in North Slope natural gas.


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, July 20 -- Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles said Thursday the state will add some North Slope Foothills area-wide oil and gas lease sales to its 2002-06 leasing schedule, to be released in January.

Knowles said that was in response to increased industry interest in North Slope natural gas.

The first area-wide Foothills lease sale held in May resulted in the state leasing the most acreage in any state sale, over 950,000 acres.

"Originally, the state planned to hold just one Foothills lease sale, as required by statute, before opening the area to noncompetitive exploration licensing but that was before North Slope natural gas became a hot commodity," Knowles said.

"After the tremendous success of the May lease sale, it was clear that industry is interested in exploring for natural gas in the Foothills region. And with the prospect of a gas line running south from Prudhoe Bay improving the economic viability of gas resources in the foothills area, proceeding with annual lease sales was an easy choice to make."

Oil and gas companies are exploring the possibility of building a gas pipeline from Prudhoe Bay field to Alberta, following the trans-Alaska oil pipeline to Fairbanks and then the Alaska Highway.

Knowles said future North Slope area wide lease sales would be scheduled for May, to be held concurrent with the Cook Inlet lease sales. The public process for the May 2002 lease sale will begin in September.

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