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Alaska Oil, Gas Lease Sale Draws $1.53M in Bids

The Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) received $1.53 million in bids on Wednesday from an oil and natural gas lease sale in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA).

According to a sales summary, BLM auctioned 254 tracts totaling about 2.85 million acres, which included 249 tracts totaling 2.83 million acres deemed to have a low potential for oil and gas production, and five tracts totaling 22,412 acres with a high potential. The agency ultimately received bids for 16 low potential tracts totaling 174,044 acres.

ConocoPhillips, the world's largest independent, was awarded five tracts totaling 48,492 acres for $355,823. Emerald House LLC secured 10 tracts totaling 114,167 acres for more than $1.120 million and Nordaq won one 11-385 acre tract for $57,494.

The leases have primary terms of 10 years. Since the tracts are considered to have a low potential for oil and gas, a 12.5% fixed royalty rate and a rental rate and minimum royalty of $3/acre would apply.

The State of Alaska's 50% share from the auction totaled nearly $766.9 million.

This year's auction generated more bids and revenue than one held last year, when BLM received seven bids that collectively totaled about $1.16 million. In that auction, subsidiaries of ConocoPhillips and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. were the high bidders for seven contiguous tracts in the northeastern area of the 22.8-million-acre reserve.

BLM also held an auction for oil and gas leases this week in Utah that netted slightly more than $3 million. A BLM auction held last week in Nevada only attracted bids for two parcels totaling 3,932 acres that went for $14,095. Another auction in Nevada is planned for March.

Last October, ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc. reported first oil production from its Greater Mooses Tooth No. 1 (GMT1) prospect within the NPRA, and said it was moving closer to a decision on whether to drill a second proposed project on the North Slope. GMT1 is the first drill site on federal leases within the NPRA.

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