Alaska nets $28M at oil, gas lease sale

ANCHORAGE (AP) — Alaska netted $28.1 million from its oil and gas lease sales in the North Slope and Beaufort Sea.

The state received bids on 133 tracts in the North Slope covering about 350 square miles (906 square kilometers), the Alaska Journal of Commerce reported.

The winning bids at the annual lease sale last Thursday for the North Slope accounted for about $27.3 million, the third highest amount since 1998, said Chantal Walsh, director of the state Division of Oil and Gas.

Bidders paid about $848,000 for the eight near shore tracts covering about 32 square miles (83 square kilometers) in the Beaufort Sea. The amount fell in line with historical averages, Walsh said.

“We have a lot to be happy about — a very good lease sale,” Walsh said.

Dominating the sealed-bid sale, Lagniappe Alaska LLC, a new player in the state, won rights to about 120 leases over a large area south of Deadhorse along the Dalton Highway. The company based in Lafayette, Louisiana, formed in Alaska last week, according to filings with the state Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing.

“We appreciate our new player,” Walsh said.

No bids were placed on the three Special Alaska Lease Sale Areas, which the division put up for bids for the first time. The areas each cover multiple lease tracts and have publicly available geologic data.

Compiling and advertising the areas directed more traffic to the division’s website than ever before, Walsh said. They also provided officials with insight into how to better direct interested parties to publicly available oil and gas geologic and well data, she said.

Walsh said the state will continue to evaluate the concept, and a decision has not yet been made on if the areas will be put up for bid again in their current form.

The federal Bureau of Land Management’s annual lease sale for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska is scheduled for Dec. 12.