State sees record value on lease sales, while NPR-A draws just 7 bids

Published: Dec. 6, 2017 at 5:13 PM AKST
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The State of Alaska received a record-breaking amount in bids on oil and gas slopes on the North Slope, while a federal lease sale in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska saw bids on just a handful of the 900 tracts available.

The state’s Wednesday morning lease sale received 143 bids, with the winning bids adding up to nearly $21.2 million, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.

The dollar amount is the third-largest of its kind since 1998, when areawide oil and gas leasing began, but the state says by bid value, it’s the largest sale, netting an average of $110 per acre.

In a release, Gov. Bill Walker said the results, “are yet another indication the State of Alaska is highly attractive to oil and gas investors around the world, and we are open for business.”

Oil companies this week also had the chance to bid on 900 tracts within Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve but offered bids on just seven.

The Bureau of Land Management lease sale made available 16,100 square miles (41,700 sq. kilometers) - roughly the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined - within the reserve.

But at bid opening Wednesday, the agency received bids on just 125 square miles (324 sq. kilometers).

All seven bids were submitted jointly by ConocoPhillips and Anadarko. The bids totaled $1.16 million, to be shared evenly between the federal government and the state of Alaska.

The reserve was created in 1923 as an emergency oil supply for the Navy.

A 2013 management plan splits the area roughly in half between conservation areas and land available for petroleum development.