The Biden administration is holding a sale of oil and gas drilling rights off the coast of Alaska on Friday, the first federal auction in the region in more than five years.
The sale of nearly 1 million acres in the Cook Inlet is one of the concessions to the oil and gas sector in the climate change law signed by president Joe Biden, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
By law, the Ministry of internal affairs must hold sales before December 31. The agency had scrapped Cook Inlet sales earlier this year before the IRA was adopted, arguing a lack of interest from the industry.
The sale will be broadcast live on the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) website. Bids will begin at 10 a.m. local time in Anchorage (1900 GMT). BOEM oversees the development of offshore energy for the Ministry of the Interior.
Boem will offer 193 blocks covering approximately 958,202 acres. Cook Inlet stretches for 290 km from Anchorage to the Gulf of Alaska.
Last week, five environmental groups sued the government to block the sale because it would not have taken sufficient account of the auction’s impact on climate change and its impact on endangered species such as the Cook Inlet beluga whale and humpback whales.
The federal government has sold several oil and gas leases in the Cook Inlet since the 1970s, but to date, no production has taken place in federal waters there. There are 14 active federal leases in Cook Inlet, all of which were purchased by Houston-based Hilcorp at the region’s last federal auction in 2017. All operating oil and gas platforms in the area are in state waters, but oil production has declined significantly since its peak in the 1970s. The areas offered for lease have the potential to produce 192.3 million barrels of oil and 301.9 billion cubic feet of natural gas, according to an estimate by the Interior Ministry.
About the author: Christy Olsen
Christy Olsen, a young author who followed in her father's footsteps and took up journalism at school. She often introduces a lot of subjective things into his texts, always tries to state the essence and give a proper assessment.