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Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Chukchi Sea Alaska, Oil and Gas Lease Sale 193


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The Minerals Management Service will hold its first Federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas lease sale in the Chukchi Sea since 1991 on February 6, 2008. The agency today issued the Final Notice of Sale for Chukchi Sea Sale 193, which outlines the sale area, terms and conditions for the sale, and requirements for protecting the environment and natural resources of the area.

 

The Chukchi Sea is considered one of the last frontier areas in North America with potential as a significant source for oil and gas. MMS estimates that the Chukchi Sea area could contain 15 billion barrels of oil (mean estimate of conventionally recoverable resources), although exploration is needed to assess what may be commercially available. The Final Notice also includes proposed royalty suspensions on production subject to price thresholds.

 

The Chukchi Sea Sale 193 area contains about 29.7 million acres offshore Alaska from north of Point Barrow to northwest of Cape Lisburne. The sale area extends from about 25 or 50 to 200 miles offshore.

 

Two sales have been held in the Chukchi Sea Planning Area previously. Sale 109 was held in 1988 with 351 leases issued, and Sale 126 in 1991 with 28 leases issued. All of those leases have expired.

 

The Bush Administration made sure that the announcement would come a few days before the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is due to decide if the polar bear should be listed under the Endangered Species Act due to severe habitat loss from melting sea ice in Alaska's Arctic Ocean caused by global warming. If the polar bear is listed, FWS is required to designate critical habitat for the bear, which may include the same waters contained in Lease Sale 193.

 

Lease Sale 193 is scheduled to be held on February 6, 2008, at the

 

Wilda Marston Theatre, Z. J.

Loussac Public Library

3600 Denali Street

Anchorage, Alaska

 

Public reading will begin at 9 a.m. All times referenced in this document are local Anchorage, Alaska, times, unless otherwise specified.

 

Bidders will be required to submit sealed bids to MMS at the

 

Alaska OCS Region Office

3801 Centerpoint Drive

Suite 500

Anchorage, Alaska 99503,

 

by 10 a.m. on the day before the sale, Tuesday, February 5, 2008. If bids are mailed, the envelope containing all of the sealed bids must be marked as follows:

 

Attention: Mr. Fred King, Contains

Sealed Bids for Sale 193.

 

Public Comments: Interested parties and the general public may submit in writing any comments concerning the land being conveyed by direct sale, including notification of any encumbrances or other claims relating to the identified land, to Field Manager, BLM Worland Field Office, at the above address. Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made public at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

 

Minimum Bonus Bid Amounts: $25.00 per hectare, or a fraction thereof, for all blocks. Refer to the Final Notice of Sale, Chukchi Sea Sale 193 map, and the Summary Table of Minimum Bids, Minimum Royalty Rates, and Rental Rates shown below.

 

Each lessee must pay royalty on production that might otherwise receive royalty relief (in 30 CFR 260) for any calendar year during which the actual New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) annual price for the light sweet crude oil or natural gas exceeds the threshold price ($39 per barrel of oil or $6.50 per million British thermal units (Btu) of gas, adjusted for inflation) in that year. Such production will be deducted from the remaining RSV.

 

For each block bid upon, a bidder must submit a separate signed bid in a sealed envelope labeled ‘‘Sealed Bid for Oil and Gas Lease Sale 193, not to be opened until 9 a.m., Wednesday, February 6, 2008.’’ The total amount of the bid must be in whole dollars; any cent amount above the whole dollar will be ignored by MMS. Details of the information required on the bid(s) and the bid

envelope(s) are specified in the document ‘‘Bid Form and Envelope’’ contained in the FNOS 193 package.

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Guest Elijah Lane

As a member of the next generation of subsistence whalers and hunters, I’m seeing the effects of climate change in all I do. I have seen the erosion and the disappearing ice in the Chukchi Sea. I have seen the changes in the migrations of animals on the land and in the water as a result of climate change in Alaska.

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