The Department will offer about 9.4 million acres offshore Alaska's northern coast in the Beaufort Sea, but will exclude areas off Barrow and Kaktovik used for subsistence whaling by these communities. The Sale area is similar to that offered by the State of Alaska in its October 2004 Beaufort Sea sale.
"The Beaufort Sea remains the best near-term potential for offshore petroleum reserves on the Alaska OCS that can be vital to our Nation's economy," said MMS Director Johnnie Burton. "But MMS must also ensure protection of subsistence whaling that is vital to North Slope communities."
Stipulations for this sale were developed with many interested parties, and are designed to allow companies to explore for oil and gas while protecting the environment. In addition to MMS's existing regulations which extensively cover safety, drilling and pollution prevention, the Final Notice of Sale includes seven lease stipulations intended to address effects to the environment and to the Inupiat people from any development of the area's oil and gas resources. These stipulations call for protection of biological resources, including spectacled and Steller's eiders, use of pipelines rather than tankers, and methods to minimize interference with subsistence whaling and other subsistence harvesting activities.
"We believe that these stipulations have in the past and will continue to reduce environmental effects and conflicts with the bowhead subsistence hunts and other subsistence activities," said MMS Regional Director John Goll. "MMS will work closely with North Slope communities, tribes, the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, local, State and federal agencies, and the industry whenever activity occurs."
Lease terms are the same used for MMS's Beaufort Sea Sale 186 in September 2003. The Final Notice suspends royalties on certain volumes of oil and condensate production, subject to price thresholds, and continues the minimum bid and rental rates that are comparable with State and other federal North Slope oil and gas leasing terms.
To request a copy of the Final Notice of Sale or the Environmental Assessment, write to the Minerals Management Service at 3801 Centerpoint Drive, Anchorage, Alaska, 99503, via email at email@example.com, or call toll-free at 1-800-764-2627. The EA is available on CD-ROM, or on the MMS webpage at www.mms.gov/alaska. You may view the Final EIS at libraries throughout the state.
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