MMS Issues Proposal for Next Federal Beaufort Sea Lease Sale
The Minerals Management Service (MMS) announced its proposal for its next offshore oil and gas lease sale in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska's North Slope, scheduled for March 2007. The Proposed Notice outlines the terms of the sale, and describes the proposed sale area, economic incentives, and requirements for protecting the human, coastal, and marine environment.
The sale area includes approximately 1,877 blocks encompassing about 9.7 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 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.
MMS developed six other lease stipulations to help minimize effects to the environment and to the Inupiat people from any development of the area's oil and gas resources. The stipulations include sitespecific bowhead whale monitoring, consultation with local subsistence communities, booming for fuel transfers, and lighting requirements for protection of spectacled and Steller's eiders.
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. The Proposed Notice also includes proposed royalty suspensions on the production of oil and condensate, subject to price thresholds.
To request a copy of the Proposed Notice of Sale or the Environmental Assessment, write to the Minerals Management Service, Alaska OCS Region, 3801 Centerpoint Drive, Suite 500, Anchorage, AK 99503; via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call toll-free at 1-800-764-2627. The Proposed Notice of Sale, Environmental Assessment and the Beaufort Sea Multiple Sale EIS are available on the MMS webpage at www.mms.gov/alaska.