Trump administration downsizes NPR-A lease sale after little interest last year

This year’s oil and gas lease sale for NPR-A will see less land offered up for oil leasing compared to last year. (Photo by Bob Wick, courtesy BLM)

The Trump administration is offering substantially less land for oil leasing in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, or NPR-A, than it did last year.

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At its annual oil and gas lease sale, the Bureau of Land Management will offer 254 tracts for bid — that’s close to three million acres of the federally managed Reserve, which is west of Prudhoe Bay.

Last year, the Trump administration put 900 tracts up for bid, adding up to over 10 million acres. That was the most land ever offered to oil and gas companies in the Reserve. But last year’s sale attracted little interest — oil companies only bid on seven tracts.

Still, NPR-A is seeing a surge of oil development, led by ConocoPhillips. The company is pursuing several large projects in the northeastern part of the Reserve.

Environmental groups have sued the federal government challenging two previous oil lease sales in NPR-A.

In a statement today, the Center for Biological Diversity said “climate change is already underway in Alaska and this lease-sale will only make it worse.”

This year’s NPR-A oil lease sale will be held on December 12.