BLM releases final leasing plan for NPR-A's northeast portion

The US Bureau of Land Management released a supplemental final plan for leasing in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska's northeast portion.

May 19th, 2008

Nick Snow
Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, May 19 -- The US Bureau of Land Management released a supplemental final plan for leasing in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska's northeast portion.

It said that the land could yield nearly 3 billion bbl of crude, or about a quarter of the oil produced over the last 31 years at Prudhoe Bay. The area also could provide trillions of cubic feet of natural gas for shipment through currently planned pipelines, the US Department of Interior agency said.

BLM will not open 219,000 acres of Teshekpuk Lake and its island to oil and gas activity under the preferred alternative it selected in its supplemental final integrated activity plan and environmental impact statement. The plan's preferred alternative also would defer leasing for 10 years on 430,000 acres north and east of the lake that currently are not available for leasing.

The plan includes protections for polar bears, including requirements to consider impacts on areas the animals use for their dens, according to BLM. It said that with the polar bear's listing as a threatened species earlier in the week, it will continue to work with the US Fish and Wildlife Service on future oil and gas activities.

BLM said it expects to hold a lease sale this fall for available portions of NPR-A's northeast area as well as part of the reserve's northwest planning area. It said that it will publish a notice of availability regarding the plan's release in the Federal Register later this month.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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