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Begich Statement on BLM Lease Sale

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich released the following statement after the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced it received bids today for its Dec. 7 lease sale in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A).

The BLM offered 283 tracts comprising just over 3 million acres in the sale. BLM received 20 bids on 17 tracts, totaling over $3 million. The State of Alaska also offered a large selection of state lands for lease on the North Slope.

“Today’s bids to develop additional North Slope oil are more good news for Alaska. Combined with recent steps forward on offshore permitting and today’s state lease sale, we’re finally making progress opening federal lands and waters in Alaska’s Arctic for responsible oil and gas development. I’m pleased to see the industry respond positively.

“With nearly 900 million barrels of conventional, undiscovered oil and 53 trillion cubic feet of gas within NPRA and adjacent state lands, the NPR-A can be an important source of oil to bridge the gap between declining North Slope production and development of the resources in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.”

Begich encouraged the Department of Interior to ensure that all companies seeking to develop in the NRP-A can access their leases via a bridge over a channel of the Colville River. He said that access, expected to be approved later this month in final, helped encourage industry interest today.

Exploration wells and seismic investigations indicate that commercial quantities of oil are more likely to lie within approximately 25 miles of the eastern boundary of the reserve.

Created by President Harding in 1923 as a Naval Petroleum Reserve, the 23 million acre reserve became the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) in 1976. The BLM has held six lease tract sales have in the Northwest (NW) and Northeast (NE) Planning Areas since 1999. The BLM currently administers approximately 170 federal oil and gas leases in the reserve, including the one on which ConocoPhillips’ CD-5 prospect lies.

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