MMS issues final notice for Beaufort Sea lease sale

The US Minerals Management Service issued a final notice for OCS Lease Sale 202, covering 8.7 million acres off Alaska's northern coast in the Beaufort Sea. The sale will be held Apr. 18 in Anchorage, MMS said.

Nick Snow
Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON, DC, Mar. 20 -- The US Minerals Management Service issued a final notice for OCS Lease Sale 202, covering 8.7 million acres off Alaska's northern coast in the Beaufort Sea. The sale will be held Apr. 18 in Anchorage, MMS said.

The sale area extends from the Canadian border on the east to the Barrow area on the west, but excludes offshore areas near Barrow and Kaktovik, which the Inupiat Natives use for bowhead whale subsistence hunts.

Any offshore oil and gas activity in the entire sale area will have to be coordinated with the Inupiat whalers during their subsistence hunt, MMS Regional Director John Goll noted in Anchorage. Stipulations for this sale were developed after consultations with several interested parties and groups, he added.

The sale's lease terms are the same as those used for MMS's last Beaufort Sea leasing, Sale 195, held in March 2005. MMS said this final notice suspends royalties on certain volumes of oil and condensate production, subject to price thresholds, and continues minimum bid and rental rates comparable to state and other federal terms on Alaska's North Slope.

It estimates that the Beaufort Sea could contain about 7 billion bbl of oil and 32 tcf of gas on a mean conventionally recoverable basis.

Contact Nick Snow at nsnow@cox.net.

More in Exploration & Development