November 20, 2014 --- Vol. 20, No. 61November 2014

State, federal oil and gas lease sales draw some $60 million

There were four oil and gas lease sales in Anchorage yesterday - three state and one federal - with companies submitting bids on some 708,346 acres. The state's North Slope areawide sale drew the most interest, attracting 297 bids on 254 tracts, 524,387 acres.

The Beaufort Sea areawide drew 57 bids on 42 tracts, 107,189 acres.

The federal Bureau of Land Management drew bids on seven National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska tracts, 66,650 acres, while the state's Foothills areawide only drew bids on two tracts, 10,120 acres.

Dollar volumes were impressive, $54.5 million for the state's North Slope areawide, $5 million for the Beaufort Sea sale, $59.7 for the three state sales combined.

Caelus Alaska Exploration, new to the state as the operator at Oooguruk, was apparent high bidder on 263,674 acres in the North Slope sale, 50 percent of the acreage receiving bids in that sale, and apparent high bidder on 59,120 acres in the Beaufort Sea sale, 55 percent of the acreage receiving bids in that sale, for combined acreage of 322,795 acres and more than $15 million in bids.

Armstrong affiliate 70 & 148 LLC, which held some 144,639 acres of state oil and gas leases prior to the sale, was apparent high bidder on 179,832 acres, with $38.3 million in apparent high bids across both the sales, the highest bid total of any company.

The third largest bidder in the sales - participating only in the North Slope sale - was Burgundy Xploration of Houston, which was apparent high bidder on 90,720 acres for which it bid $2.59 million.

The federal Bureau of Land Management National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska lease sale drew three bidders and a total of $658,978.20 in bids on seven tracts, some 66,650 acres.


See story and map of sale results in Nov. 23 issue, available online Friday Nov. 21 at

BP closes sale of North Slope assets to Hilcorp

BP has closed the sale of its interests in four North Slope oil fields to Hilcorp Alaska and the companies have approached federal agencies about transferring operatorship of Liberty to Hilcorp.

In a speech yesterday to the annual conference of the Resource Development Council, Janet Weiss, president of BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., said that the transaction, which closed Nov. 18, will enable BP to focus on the operation of the giant Prudhoe Bay field and to pursue the project to export North Slope gas as LNG.

Hilcorp has acquired all of BP's interests in Endicott and Northstar, while BP is retaining a 50 percent interest in Milne Point. Hilcorp has also acquired a 50 percent interest in the undeveloped Liberty field, offshore in the Beaufort Sea. Hilcorp is becoming operator of all four fields.

"It allows us to focus really operationally on what we do best strategically, and that's giant fields and big gas value chains. And it puts some fields into the hands of a very competent operator that has a great track record," Weiss said.

Weiss said that BP and Hilcorp have approached government agencies about transferring the operatorship of Liberty from BP to Hilcorp and that Hilcorp has devised a "great concept" for developing Liberty that makes the field look more competitive than previously.

Hilcorp anticipates submitting a development and production plan for the field by the end of the year, she said.


See story in Nov. 30 issue, available online Friday, Nov. 28 at

Conoco contracts for new coiled tubing rig

ConocoPhillips Alaska said yesterday that it has contracted with Nabors Alaska Drilling for a new coiled tubing drilling rig for use at Kuparuk. The company said this is the second new-build rig the company has announced since the Alaska Legislature passed oil tax reform last year.

The new rig, scheduled to begin drilling in late 2016, will join a fleet that includes other recent additions - Nabors 7ES and 9ES, as well as another new-build rig, Doyon 142, scheduled to begin drilling in early 2016.


See story in Nov. 30 edition, available online Friday, Nov. 28, at

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