The BLM is asking interested parties to comment on tracts available for oil and gas leasing in the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska (NPR-A) by June 29, 2015. The NPR-A encompasses 22.8 million acres on Alaska’s North Slope and is estimated to contain 896 million barrels of recoverable oil and 52.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. As part of its annual lease-sale process, the BLM requests comments from the public on what tracts should be included in the lease sale.
The 2015 lease sale follows President Obama’s 2011 instruction to BLM to hold annual lease sales in NPR-A and BLM’s adoption of a new land use plan governing NPR-A in 2013. Before President Obama’s 2011 instructions, the first lease sale for NPR-A was held in 1999 and approximately every two years thereafter.
BLM’s lease-sale practice is to request comments from interested parties on what tracts should be made available for leasing in May or June. BLM then publishes a notice of the tracts being offered for lease and the date of the lease sale in late summer or fall. Sealed bids are accepted up to the time of the sale and opened on the day of the sale. Winning bidders are then contacted by BLM and asked to fill out a lease form and complete other administrative requirements.
Oil and gas producers looking for new development prospects in NPR-A should comment on BLM’s upcoming sale to ensure BLM offers the best development prospects possible in the upcoming sale. Even producers not considering projects in the near term in NPR-A would benefit from providing BLM information and analysis regarding available tracts. BLM’s long term leasing and other management decisions for NPR-A are influenced by industry interest and providing BLM information and analysis during its leasing process will make for better BLM management decisions in the long term.