Existing players in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska took the largest number of tracts at the Bureau of Land Management's 2002 lease sale today, but a company new to the NPR-A, TotalFinaElf E&P U.S.A. Inc., dominated, accounting for more than 83 percent of the apparent high bids, $53,144,770 of $63,144,770.
TotalFinaElf also had the highest bid for a single tract, $10,188,480, $887.81 per acre.
Another new player in the NPR-A, EnCana Oil & Gas USA Inc., took five of the six leases on which it bid for $974,236.
Phillips Alaska Inc. and Anadarko Petroleum Corp., both of whom acquired leases in the first northeast area NPR-A sale in 1999 and have already drilled exploration wells, took 34 of the 39 leases on which they bid, spending $9,609,000, 15 percent of high bids.
In all, BLM received 69 bids on 60 tracts from six companies and individuals in seven different combinations, a for a total bid amount of $65.8 million.
BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., which took leases in the 1999 sale and drilled two winters ago, did not participate. BP has said it will focus its exploration around existing North Slope infrastructure.
Arctic Falcon, which holds an NPR-A lease at Umiat, was the only unsuccessful bidder, loosing out to a 50/50 partnership of Paul L. Craig and Peter S. Zamarello for an adjacent tract, L-006, the most southerly bid in the sale.
Phillips and Anadarko, bidding in differently weighted partnerships (Phillips 60 percent, Anadarko 40 percent and Phillips 78 percent Anadarko 22 percent), picked up tracts in different areas.
One tract is adjacent to the Colville River unit at northeastern edge of the sale area.
Twenty-three of the Phillips-Anadarko leases appear to be extensions to the north and west of the companies' existing NPR-A acreage. One tract is adjacent to a block of tracks the companies hold west of Teshekpuk Lake.
The companies paid more than a million an acre for two tracts — both smaller tracts in the area considered by BLM to have higher hydrocarbon potential, adjacent to acreage the companies hold but considerably west of where they have drilled.
Nine of the Phillips-Anadarko leases are part of a band across the middle part of the lease area, where both TotalFinaElf and EnCana bid, and where there were no bids in the 1999 lease sale.
The five tracts on which EnCana was apparent high bidder are in the middle of this same previously unleased and undrilled area, south and southwest of the areas where Phillips, BP and Anadarko have drilled.
TotalFinaElf spent more than $10 million each on two tracts, both in the lower potential area (where tracts are twice the size of those in the higher potential area) and both southwest of existing lease and drilling areas.
In all, TotalFinaElf bid more than a million dollars on 11 tracts.
Totals for the 1999 lease sale were high bids of $104,635,728 and total bids of $124,951,166. Six companies, BP, Anadarko, Chevron, Phillips, ARCO and R3 Exploration submitted 174 bids on 133 tracts in the 1999 sale; the highest bid per acre was $3,655 by ARCO and Anadarko.