MMS Seeks to Update Information for its Next Beaufort Sea Sale

The Minerals Management Service is seeking any updated information about the Beaufort Sea relevant to offshore oil and gas leasing. MMS issued a Request for Information (RFI) for proposed federal Beaufort Sea Oil and Gas Lease Sale 202 on October 27, 2005. The agency is seeking comments on whether any significant new information has become available since it completed a multi-sale Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in February 2004, which covered three proposed sales in the Beaufort Sea. Sale 202 is scheduled for March 2007, and would be the third of the three sales scheduled in the current MMS 5-Year Program for the Beaufort Sea. Sale 186 was held in September 2003 and Sale 195 in March 2005.

This is the first step in the 25-month sale process. MMS will prepare an environmental assessment (EA) for the proposed sale to address any new information or concerns which may have developed since the multi-sale EIS was published. The EA will evaluate the sale, with the proposed action not including the Barrow and Kaktovik subsistence whaling areas.

When completed, MMS will release the EA for a 30-day public review in mid-summer 2006. A Proposed Notice of Sale, which outlines the proposed sale area, mitigating measures, and stipulations; is scheduled to be released in September 2006. A Final Notice of Sale, which outlines the final terms of the sale, is scheduled to be released in February 2007.

Copies of this RFI are available from the Minerals Management Service, Alaska OCS Region, 3801 Centerpoint Drive, Room 500, Anchorage, AK 99503, and on the internet at For more information, call 907-334-5208 or toll-free at 1-800-764-2627.

Comments may be submitted via email to: or mailed to the Minerals Management Service, Alaska OCS Region, 3801 Centerpoint Drive, Room 500, Anchorage, AK 99503, or by fax to 907-334-5242.

MMS, part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, oversees 1.76 billion acres of the Outer Continental Shelf, managing offshore energy and minerals while protecting the human, marine, and coastal environments. The OCS provides 30 percent of oil and 21 percent of natural gas produced domestically, as well as sand used for coastal restoration. MMS collects, accounts for, and disburses mineral revenues from Federal and American Indian lands, and contributes to the Land and Water Conservation Fund and other special use funds, with Fiscal Year 2004 disbursements of about $8 billion and more than $143 billion since 1982.

Additionally, the State of Alaska receives 27% of all revenues generated as a result of federal leases that lie within 3-to-6 miles offshore the Alaska coast, and 50% of this money goes into the Alaska Permanent Fund Account.

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