The state has added areawide North Slope foothills oil and gas lease sales to its 2002 to 2006 leasing schedule.
"Originally, the state planned to hold just one foothills lease sale, as required by statute, before opening the area to non-competitive exploration licensing," said Gov. Tony Knowles July 19, "but that was before North Slope natural gas became a hot commodity."
The first areawide foothills lease sale held in May resulted in the state leasing the most acreage in any state sale, more than 950,000 acres.
"After the tremendous success of the May lease sale, it was clear that industry is interested in exploring for natural gas in the foothills region. And with the prospect of a gas line running south from Prudhoe Bay improving the economic viability of gas resources in the foothills area, proceeding with annual lease sales was an easy choice to make."
Future North Slope area wide lease sales will be scheduled for May, to be held concurrent with the Cook Inlet lease sales. The public process for the May 2002 lease sale will begin in September.