An offshore oil and gas lease sale for tracts in Alaska’s Cook Inlet has been scheduled for Dec. 30. Lease Sale 258 was canceled by the Biden administration in 2021 but revived as part of the tax and spending bill passed by Congress in August (OGJ Online, Aug. 8, 2022).
The sale will include up to 224 blocks in the northern part of the Cook Inlet planning area, from roughly Kalgin Island in the north to Augustine Island in the south, in water depths ranging from 33 to 260 ft. A final notice of sale will be published no later than Nov. 30 with a list of specific blocks to be offered for bidding.
The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) formally announced the lease sale in the Sept. 23 Federal Register and posted details on its website.
When the administration canceled the sale in May 2021, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said it was terminated because of a lack of interest. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alas.) disputed that, saying she had heard expressions of interest from the oil and gas industry.
The tax and spending bill, named the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, forced the issue by requiring that Lease Sale 258 be held by Dec. 31. The act required that the sale be held in accordance with the terms in the Record of Decision published in the Jan. 19, 2017, Federal Register.
The spending bill also revived Lease Sale 259, to be held for tracts in the Gulf of Mexico. That sale must be held no later than March 31, 2023. And the bill required that Lease Sale 261, also for the Gulf of Mexico, be held no later than Sept. 30, 2023.