MMS will offer about 8.7 million acres offshore Alaska's northern coast in the Beaufort Sea. The proposed sale area extends from the Canadian border on the east to near Barrow on the west, but it excludes offshore areas near Barrow and Kaktovik used by the Inupiat for bowhead whale subsistence hunts. Throughout the sale area, MMS will require that any offshore oil and gas activity be coordinated with the Inupiat whalers during their subsistence hunt.
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 potential effects to the environment and to the Inupiat people from any development of the area's oil and gas resources. The stipulations include site-specific bowhead whale monitoring, consultation with local subsistence communities, protection of biological resources, and lighting requirements for protection of spectacled and Steller's eiders.
"We believe that these stipulations 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."
MMS estimates that the Beaufort Sea could contain about 7 billion barrels of oil and 32 trillion cubic feet of natural gas (mean estimate of conventionally recoverable resources). Any resources discovered would help boost supplies into the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.
Lease terms are the same used for MMS's Beaufort Sea Sale 195 in March 2005. 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:
Minerals Management Service 3801 Centerpoint Drive Anchorage, AK 99503
or send an email to: email@example.com, or call toll-free at 1-800-764-2627. The Final Notice of Sale, Environmental Assessment and the Beaufort Sea Multiple Sale EIS are available on the MMS webpage at www.mms.gov/alaska. You may view the Final EIS at libraries throughout the state.
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