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NEWS BULLETIN

July 25, 2000 --- Vol. 6, No. 31July 2000

Bid call out for Copper River basin exploration license

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil and Gas said July 25 that it will open bids Aug. 25 for an oil and gas exploration license for the Copper River basin. The exploration license contains 398,445.44 acres.

The division has issued a best interest finding for the sale. The finding, along with a 1:250,000 map of the license area, will be available on the division's web site at www.dog.dnr.state.ak.us/oil.

The division said that prospective licensees -- who have already submitted license proposals -- are invited to submit final sealed bids no later than 4:30 p.m. Aug. 24. A bid deposit of $79,689.09 (20 percent of the license fee) must be included with the bid. The winning bidder must pay a licensing fee of $1 per acre.

The license will have a primary term of five years and upon completion of a required work commitment, the licensee may convert all or a part of the license area to an oil and gas lease, which will have a primary term of five years. There is no annual rental fee for the exploration license, but upon conversion to oil and gas leases an annual rental of $3 an acre is required. The royalty on lands converted to oil and gas leases will be 12.5 percent.

In April 1998, the division received a request for an exploration license over a portion of the Copper River basin and on May 15, 1998, the division issued a notice of intent to evaluate the proposal and asked for public comment and also for additional proposals. As a result of the solicitation, the division said, it has received more than one proposal. Since there is more than one applicant, the names and proposals are held confidential until after the license is awarded.

The preliminary finding was released this January, followed by a 60-day public comment period. Division staff also met with the Copper River Resource Development Council in Glennallen on June 6 for a roundtable discussion explaining the licensing process and what exploration activities residents could expect.

Applicants now have an opportunity to review the final finding, the final license area configuration and conditions placed on the license. Applicants now have an opportunity to submit revised bids. The commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources makes the determination as to whether or not the winning bid is acceptable and, if so, awards the license.

The license area runs west from Glennallen on either side of the Glenn Highway and includes most of the length of the Lake Louise Road to the North. In the east, the boundary is close to the Richardson Highway. The southern boundary is south of Copper Center.

Laird back at BP

Paul Laird returned to BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. July 17 after spending a year as corporate communications manager at Petro Marine Services.

Laird said his responsibilities at BP include speech writing and advertising, areas he handled when he was with the company previously, as well as oversight for community relations, employee involvement in communications and North Slope tours.

He will also be External Communication Director Ronnie Chappell's backup as company spokesman.

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