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BOEM Calls for Input on Potential Beaufort Sea Oil, Gas Leasing

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is calling for information and nominations by April 30 for a proposed oil and gas lease sale in Alaska’s Beaufort Sea Planning Area in 2019.

The proposed sale is in the Interior Department’s draft proposed 2019-2024 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) leasing program announced in January.

“Available information indicates that the Beaufort Sea possesses great oil and gas potential,” said BOEM’s James Kendall, director of the Alaska OCS Region. “It also contains unique, environmentally sensitive areas important to the subsistence needs of the region’s Alaska Native communities.

“This process will help us identify not only the areas that can be safely and responsibly developed, but also those areas that should be protected for wildlife and traditional uses.”

The call for information was to be published in the Federal Register on Friday (March 30), launching a 30-day comment period.

“During this time, BOEM seeks comments from industry on interest in the areas proposed for leasing, including nominations or indications of interest in specific lease blocks within the area,” officials said.

BOEM also is seeking comments regarding “particular geological, environmental, biological, archaeological and socioeconomic conditions, use conflicts, or other information that could affect the potential leasing and development of particular areas.”

Because the OCS program remains in draft form, the call does not mean a final decision has been made to hold a Beaufort lease sale.

Information submitted in response to the call would be used to help determine what specific blocks could be offered for leasing, prioritize areas with potential for oil and gas development, develop potential lease terms and conditions, identify potential use conflicts and potential mitigation measures, and assist in the planning and environmental review process.
Once comments have been reviewed, BOEM plans to begin area identification for potential leases.

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