Lease sale in Alaska petroleum reserve draws modest interest

December 13, 2018 - 1:54 pm

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The federal government's attempt to sell oil leases in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska has again drawn a modest response.

The Alaska Journal of Commerce reports the Bureau of Land Management on Wednesday received 16 bids on 16 tracts covering 272 square miles (705 sq. kilometers). BLM received seven bids in 2017.

The BLM this year offered 254 tracts on more than 4,375 square miles (11,330 sq. kilometers).

Federal officials say the modest bidding can be attributed to the lack of access to the most prospective areas.

The sale took in $1.13 million.

Environmental groups oppose expanded drilling in the reserve west of Prudhoe Bay.

They say oil development will imperil caribou herds and ecologically significant wetlands used for breeding by migratory waterfowl from around the world.

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