At the first auction of federal offshore leases in Alaska’s Cook Inlet in nearly a decade, Hilcorp Alaska LLC submitted bids of more than $3 million on Wednesday, according to the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

Hilcorp submitted bids totaling $3,034,815 for 14 tracts covering approximately 76,615 acres at the Cook Inlet Oil & Gas Lease Sale 244, the final lease sale to be held under the BOEM’s 2012-2017 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program. The bureau had placed 224 lease blocks — covering 1.09 million acres, and stretching roughly from Kalgin Island in the north to Augustine Island in the south — up for auction.

“This sale represents an important step forward for energy development in Alaska,” said BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruickshank. “It demonstrates our commitment to environmentally responsible energy development that provides economic opportunities and generates jobs.

“Expanded oil and gas production is critical to America’s economic and energy security, as we move to strengthen the nation’s energy independence in accordance with the [Trump] administration’s goals.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who chairs the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, said the lease sale “is good news for the future of affordable energy in southcentral Alaska, and a good sign for our ability to develop more of the prolific resources in Alaska’s OCS.

“I appreciate the new administration’s decision to move forward with this sale, and hope it marks the return of regular sales that restore access to more of our federal waters.”

Prior to today’s sale, twelve lease sales were held under the 2012-2017 Five Year Program, which offered about 73 million acres for development and generated about $3.275 billion in bid revenues.

Wednesday’s lease sale — the first in Alaska’s OCS since 2008 — was the 13th and final one under the current five-year leasing program, which was overseen by the Obama administration.

In related news, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said its Division of Oil and Gas received six bids from Hilcorp for six tracts encompassing 26,822 acres at its separate, annual Cook Inlet area-wide oil and gas lease sale on Wednesday. The DNR said the total value of Hilcorp’s bids were $922,000. It did not receive any bids for its Alaska Peninsula area-wide lease sale.