Six companies participated in the sale, offering apparent high bids of $104,635,728 for 134 North Slope tracts-all but a few in the northeastern corner of NPR-A (see map).
The ARCO-Anadarko partnership picked up 92 of the blocks.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management said the sale attracted 174 bids totaling $124,951,166 (OGJ, May 10, 1999, Newsletter).
Companies concentrated their bidding in the coastal region between the Colville River and Teshekpuk Lake, in the general area of the 1994 Alpine field discovery. Another concentration of blocks was sold between Teshekpuk Lake and the Ikpikpuk River.
ARCO Alaska (78%) and Anadarko (22%) offered the highest bid in the sale, $3,655,100 for tract H-51. BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. (72%) and Phillips Petroleum Co. (28%) bid $271,100 for the same block.
The May 5 sale, the first in NPR-A since 1984, offered 425 tracts on 3.9 million acres. The federal government will share 50% of the sale revenues with the state.
ARCO strategyARCO and Anadarko also are the owners of Alpine field, which is just across the Colville River from some of the NPR-A sale tracts. Like their bidding partnership, they are 78% and 22% owners of Alpine.
ARCO Alaska spokesman Ronnie Chappell said, "We're very pleased with the outcome of the sale. We exposed $86 million for 116 tracts with our partner, and had high bids on 92 of them for $70 million."
Chappell said the firms spent 2 years acquiring and evaluating seismic.
"We were very, very ready for this sale. We had identified a number of prospects, and we acquired most of the those we were interested in."
Environmental, economic issuesSally Wisely, BLM-Alaska state director, said, "I am pleased that this lease sale generated such a high level of interest.
"We have focused our efforts on using sound science in our planning decisions to promote responsible development that protects wildlife and the environment."
The Interior Department placed extensive environmental stipulations on many of the blocks offered (OGJ, Aug. 24, 1998, p. 26).
Eight environmental groups sued last October to challenge the NPR-A leasing. That action is still pending.
Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles said, "This sale is a strong signal that Alaska continues as one of the world's hottest properties for oil and gas exploration.
"This sale bodes well for the future of Alaska's petroleum industry. Access to undeveloped acreage is a critical part of keeping our industry active in Alaska.
"Alaska's economy depends on a growing oil and gas industry. Thousands of Alaska workers support their families on oil industry wages. This lease sale is proof that those jobs will stay in Alaska for a long time."
Copyright 1999 Oil & Gas Journal. All Rights Reserved.