Anchorage— The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced today it will hold an oil and gas lease sale within the 22.8-million acre National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A) on Wednesday, November 18, in Anchorage, Alaska. The Notice of Sale will be published in tomorrow’s Federal Register.
The lease sale, the 12th in the NPR-A since 1999, will include 143 tracts and cover approximately 1.5 million acres. In 2011, President Obama directed the Interior Department to conduct annual oil and gas lease sales in the reserve. Total bids received from the 11 prior sales generated more than $261 million, half of which was shared with the State of Alaska. Currently, 212 authorized leases in the NPR-A cover more than 1.75 million acres.
“This annual lease sale was planned with careful consideration to balance the exploration and development of oil and gas resources with the protection of wildlife habitat and subsistence activities, such as fishing and hunting, of rural residents and Alaska Natives,” said BLM-Alaska State Director Bud Cribley. “The proposed sale conforms to the best management practices established in the 2013 Integrated Activity Plan for the NPR-A, which allows for expanded leasing in the NPR-A, while protecting significant habitat for caribou herds, migratory bird habitat and sensitive coastal resources that are critically important to the Alaska Natives, a subsistence lifestyle and our nation’s conservation heritage.”
Under the Naval Petroleum Reserves Production Act of 1976, the BLM is required to balance the exploration and development of oil and gas resources with the protection of wildlife habitat and subsistence activities, such as fishing and hunting, of rural residents and Alaska Natives.
The NPR-A, which comprises the largest single block of federally managed land in the United States, is nearly the size of Indiana. Based on an October 2010 analysis by the U.S. Geological Survey, this area contains an estimated 896 million barrels of economically recoverable oil and 52.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
The BLM sought public input on tract nominations from lands in the NPR-A planning areas that are not currently leased or deferred from leasing and selected the tracts based on evaluation of comments received, natural resource information, resource potential, industry interest, and subsistence values. The comment period ran from May 28, 2015, through June 29, 2015.
The BLM will open sealed bids at 1 p.m. in the Anchorage Federal Office Building, 4th floor, Denali Room, 222 W. 7th Ave. Additional information on this lease sale can be found at www.blm.gov/ak.