FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE News Release No. 07-22
Sharon Wilson, 907-271-4418 5/22/07
Ruth McCoard, 907-271-3322
Rule for Oil and Gas Leasing in NPR-A Proposed by BLM
WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Land Management proposed a rule today that will facilitate oil and gas leasing in one of the United States’ largest petroleum repositories.
The BLM published in today’s Federal Register
proposed regulations that would provide for renewal of leases in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A), as well as lease extensions, lease expirations and unit agreements for lands in NPR-A. The rule would make the BLM’s administrative procedures for NPR-A consistent with Section 347 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
NPR-A is a 23-million-acre area located on the North Slope of Alaska that has been managed by the BLM since 1976. The U.S. Geological Survey estimated in 2002 that there are between 5.9 and 13.2 billion barrels of technically-recoverable oil on the federal lands in NPR-A. According to the USGS, there is a mean of 9.3 billion barrels of oil in NPR-A, enough to satisfy the total demand in the U.S. for nearly 15 months.
“While the BLM and the Interior Department believe they must aggressively push development of clean energies in order to diversify our domestic energy portfolio, the reality is that there will remain a substantial demand for petroleum in the U.S. for years to come,” said BLM Acting Director Jim Hughes. “These proposals will provide the framework to develop the NPR-A's resources so as to help ensure the country’s energy security.”
Section 347 of the Energy Policy Act requires the BLM to revise its existing regulations for NPR-A on: lease extensions and renewals; production allocation methods; administration of conveyed mineral estate; and waiver, suspension and reduction of rentals and/or royalties necessary to promote development. In addition, the law requires the BLM to provide opportunities for the State of Alaska and the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC) to participate in the creation and/or expansion of oil and gas units that fall on state or ASRC land. The proposal would also make the regulations for bonding in NPR-A consistent with the regulations that apply outside the reserve.
The BLM, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, manages 258 million surface acres — more land than any other federal agency. Most of this public land is located in 12 Western states, including 83.5 million surface acres in Alaska. The Bureau also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on the public lands.
-- BLM --