More North Slope Lease Sales Announced

Alaska plans to add more North Slope Foothills area-wide oil and gas lease sales to its 2002-2006 leasing schedule this January, which Gov. Tony Knowles said was in response to an increased industry interest in North Slope natural gas. The first area-wide Foothills lease sales held in May resulted in Alaska leasing the most acreage in any state ever, 950,000 acres.

"Originally, the state planned to hold just one Foothills lease sale, as required by statute, before opening the area to non-competitive exploration licensing, but that was before North Slope natural gas became a hot commodity," Knowles said. "After the tremendous success of the May lease sale, it was clear that industry is interested in exploring for natural gas in the Foothills region."

Knowles said that the "prospect of a gas line running south from Prudhoe Bay" was improving the economic viability of gas resources in the region, which made the annual lease sales "an easy choice to make." The lease sale two months ago in the state's North Slope Foothills region ended with 170 tracts sold worth $11.2 million. The Cook Inlet sale ended with 30 tracts sold for a total of $1.2 million (see NGI, May 14).

Following the January lease sale, the North Slope area-wide lease sales will be scheduled for May 2002, concurrent with the Cook Inlet lease sales. The public process for the May 2002 lease sale will begin in September. To learn more about the leasing schedule, visit the Alaska Department of Oil and Gas' Division of Oil and Gas web site at www.dog.dnr.state.ak.us/oil.

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