The state of Alaska received 158 bids on 149 onshore tracts in its third North Slope areawide sale, and $10,679,136 in apparent high bids on a record amount of land, 713,600 acres.
Combined with $440,122,40 received in the first state's first Beaufort Sea areawide sale, apparent high bids totaled $11,119,258.40.
The Beaufort Sea sale was dominated by independents. There were 14 bids on 11 tracts in that sale. The only major bidding was Exxon Mobil Corp., which took one tract for $85,364. A bidding group of 90 percent J. Andrew Bachner and 10 percent Keith Forsgren took nine tracts.
The North Slope onshore areawide sale was dominated by majors, with a bidding group of Phillips Alaska, AEC and Chevron taking 32 tracts for $5.8 million and a bidding group of Anadarko and AEC taking 42 tracts for $1.5 million.
Bidding by itself, BP Exploration Alaska took 13 tracts for $882,000.
Independent AVCG LLC out of Kansas took 11 tracts for $754,500, while Phillips Alaska bidding by itself took seven tracts for $413,000 and Anadarko Petroleum, bidding by itself, took 15 tracts for $383,000.
A bidding group called "3793885 Canada" took eight tracts for $273,000, while a bidding group of BP and Chevron took four tracts for $230,500 and a bidding group of BP and Phillips took four tracts for $176,600.
AEC, bidding by itself, took three tracts for $116,000.
A bidding group of Bachner and Forsgren took three tracts for $86,000; Dan Donkel took three tracts for $38,500 and a bidding group of Monte Allen and Dan Donkel took two tracts for $26,000.
A bidding group of Gilbertson et al took one tract for $32,000 and R3 Exploration took one tract for $26,000.
Director of the Division of Oil and Gas Ken Boyd said that in addition to being the largest number of acres leased at a sale, it was the second largest number of tracts in modern times. In very early sales, he said, the state laid out tracts differently and trying to compare number of tracts between modern and early sales was like comparing apples and oranges.
Boyd said he saw companies filling in around existing prospects and companies moving south into what are new prospects. He noted that Phillips took a block of acreage in what is probably a new play. But acreage taken by Anadarko and AEC, Alberta Energy, "is the real change" Boyd said: "They're out looking for gas on purpose."
Mark Hanley, Anadarko's Alaska public affairs manager, said after the sale that the company was bidding mostly in an area in the south. "And that's a gas play," he said, which "fills in with our Arctic Slope Regional Corp. acreage… We're going to be looking for gas. We may be the first company actually looking for gas," he said, noting that others on the North Slope have tremendous gas reserves there already.