State Announces Winners Of Oil, Gas Rights Lease Sales

Bill Barron, director of the Division of Oil and Gas at the state Department of Natural Resources.

The State of Alaska announced winners of oil and gas rights in a lease sale held in Anchorage on Wednesday.

The state took in more than $14 million.

The sum was a couple of million dollars lower than the previous lease sale, but it was an amount that happily surprised Bill Barron. Barron is director of the Division of Oil and Gas at the state DNR.

Companies purchased the rights on tracts of land in and along the Beaufort Sea, on the North Slope, and in the North Slope Foothills. Barron says the locations of the purchase could show new areas for development.

“You could see a lot of companies were gathering acreage around land they already purchased in earlier sales,” Barron said. “You could see some filling in of gaps by competitors of some folks.”

“You can see a direct correlation that there looks like a direct correlation to the western area that looks like it has some promise.”

At least three companies bought land in the western area Barron mentions sandwiched between Kuparak and the National Petroleum Reserve.

Barron says he’ excited to see new individuals and small operations make bids, but perhaps he’s more excited to see the return of BP and Conoco.

“Any activity, especially from the major players and some from the minor players, is good for the state,” Barron said. “So, yeah, I was really excited when I opened up the bids and saw some of the primary players that had been there historically actually stepping back in on new acreage.”

The permits last 10 years and do not require a company to begin work.

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