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BLM Schedules NPR-A Oil and Gas Lease Sale

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has scheduled an oil and natural gas lease sale for the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A) to be held Nov. 19 in Anchorage.

The lease sale will include 270 tracts covering about 3 million acres, according to a notice in the Federal Register.

BLM said it will open sealed bids at 1 p.m. Nov. 19 in the Anchorage Federal Office Building. Additional information on the lease sale can be found at www.blm.gov/ak.

Nine previous lease sales over the past 15 years have generated more than $263 million. Currently, 207 authorized leases cover more than 1.75 million acres, BLM said. Tracts available for lease are consistent with the NPR-A Integrated Activity Plan finalized in February 2013.

BLM, which sought public input on tract nominations for lands in the NPR-A planning areas that are not currently leased or deferred from leasing, made its selections based on an evaluation of the comments received, natural resource information, resource potential, industry interest and subsistence values. To date, only exploratory drilling has occurred within the NPR-A. ConocoPhillips Alaska is pursuing a right-of-way grant and related authorizations to support development of petroleum resources at the Greater Mooses Tooth Unit (see Daily GPIMay 1). That project would facilitate the first production of oil from federal lands within the NPR-A, BLM said.

It would be the fourth such lease sale since President Obama directed the secretary of Interior in 2011 to conduct annual oil and gas lease sales in the NPR-A, BLM said (see Daily GPIDec. 9, 2011). In the past, the administration's plans to manage oil and natural gas development in the NPR-A have been blasted by elected officials in Alaska (see Daily GPIAug. 14, 2012). The U.S. House of Representatives this year approved a bill that its sponsor, Rep. Doc Hastings (D-WA), said would increase domestic oil and natural gas production by requiring the Obama administration to move on offshore lease sales, including areas of the NPR-A and off the coast of Virginia (see Daily GPIJune 27). The bill is pending in the Senate.

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