Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office in Alaska has issued a call for nominations and comments on tracts for oil and leases to be offered in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A) in November. The notice, which was published in the Federal Register (FR) Tuesday, is subject to a 45-day comment period.

This is the second consecutive annual sale that President Obama has directed BLM to hold in the NPR-A. The first NPR-A sale last year generated bids totaling more than $3.6 million (see Daily GPI, Dec. 9, 2011).

BLM Alaska said it plans to offer 630 tracts on approximately 7.1 million acres in the upcoming lease lease, which will be more than double what the agency offered producers in 2011. The tracts to be auctioned will be within the Northeast and Northwest Planning Areas of the NPR-A, according to the notice in the FR.

The U.S. Geological Survey in 2010 estimated that the NPR-A, which covers 22.8 million acres on Alaska's North Slope, holds approximately 896 million barrels of oil and 53 Tcf of natural gas. Both figures were below what the agency estimated in 2002.

"The call for nominations and comments is a process for oil and gas lease sales within the NPR-A that gives industry, conservation groups and other stakeholders the opportunity to provide input into which tracts should be included in the sale and which tracts should be excluded from the sale," said BLM-Alaska State Director Bud C. Cribley.

"As industry begins to build infrastructure and explore and develop oil and gas on Alaska's North Slope, this important step is part of our efforts to facilitate safe responsible domestic energy development within the NPR-A," he noted.

BLM Alaska said it must receive all nominations and comments on the tracts for consideration on or before June 29. The nominations and/or comments should be sent to the State Director, Bureau of Land Management, Alaska State Office, 222 West 7th Ave., Mailstop 13, Anchorage, AK 99513-7504.

For further information, contact Deputy State Director Ted Murphy at (907) 271-4413.

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