January 13, 2000 --- Vol. 6, No. 2January 2000

New commissioner named at AOGCC

The governor has appointed Dan Seamount, senior advising geologist with Unocal Alaska Resources, to the geologist seat on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission effective Jan. 13. His term runs to Dec. 31, 2004.

Seamount has been with Unocal since 1988 and in Alaska since 1993. Prior to that, he worked for Marathon Oil Co. and Chevron. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in geology from the University of California at Riverside.

Second coalbed methane conference to be held in Anchorage in March

The second Alaska coalbed methane workshop, "Opportunities in Alaska Coalbed Methane," will be held on March 1-3 at the Sheraton Hotel in Anchorage. The workshop is co-sponsored by Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, West Coast Petroleum Technology Transfer Council, and the U.S. Geological Survey. There will be a coalbed methane workshop on March 1, a field trip on March 2 with a dinner and keynote speaker that evening, and workshop sessions and panels on March 3.

Organizers are soliciting papers for the workshop. For further information please call or e-mail Jim Clough (907-451-5030; [email protected]); Iraj Ershaghi (213-740-0321; [email protected]); or Charley Barker (303-236-5797; [email protected]).

State going to public notice for shallow natural gas leasing

The state is going to public notice with its shallow natural gas leasing program Jan. 26 and plans to accept applications Feb. 29, Jim Haynes of the state Division of Oil and Gas told PNA Jan. 13.

In the public notice, Haynes said, Commissioner John Shively will advise the public that the state is opening the program, explain the program briefly and allow a 30-day comment period.

"Baring anything unforeseen at that point," he said, "we intend to allow people to make application for the non-competitive shallow gas leases on the 29th of February."

State statutes were amended in 1996 to provide for non-competitive leasing of shallow natural gas prospects within 3,000 feet of the surface, excluding lands part of the state's five-year oil and gas leasing program, under lease, proposed for lease and Alaska Mental Health Trust lands.

These leases are issued on a first-come, first-served basis. When issued, the lease grants the lessee an exclusive right to explore for, develop and produce shallow natural gas for three years, with automatic extensions as long as gas is produced in paying quantities.

Since the program was enacted, the state has received expressions of interest in the program from eight or nine different entities, Haynes said.

"Because it is a non-competitive lease sale, if there's no overlap, everybody will get that they want.

"If there is an overlap, or partial overlap, we'll have a drawing," he said. That drawing would probably be held on Feb. 29 or March 1, depending on how many applications are received. It shouldn't take long to sort through to see if there's an overlap. "If there is, we'll give everybody a number and draw from a hat."

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