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NEWS BULLETIN

May 19, 2004 --- Vol. 10, No. 49May 2004

Cook Inlet a burner: state takes in $2.9 million, $2.7 million in inlet

The state of Alaska took in $2,876,720.16 at two areawide lease sales today: $154,656 for five tracts in the North Slope Foothills lease sale and $2,722,084.16 for 72 tracts in the Cook Inlet lease sale.

It was the most successful Cook Inlet lease sale in 15 years, Department of Natural Resources Deputy Commissioner Marty Rutherford said before the bids were opened. She welcomed Pioneer Oil Co. of Illinois to Alaska — the company took 27 of the 28 Cook Inlet tracts on which it bid — and noted that “independents play a very vital role in exploration in Alaska, all the way from the Beaufort Sea to the Cook Inlet, and you’ve been growing in numbers, which we’re very pleased about.”

In the Foothills areawide lease sale, Petro-Canada Alaska Inc. was the only bidder, taking five tracts at $5.37 an acre, for a total of $154,656. Petro-Canada is already a major leaseholder in the North Slope Foothills, and the tracts it took in this sale area adjacent to leases the company already holds.

Major bidders in the Cook Inlet sale included newcomer Pioneer Oil with total high bonus bids of $793,152 (27 tracts), followed by Alliance Energy Group at $486,128 (three tracts), Marathon Oil at $424,012.80 (11 tracts), Unocal at $386,585.60 (seven tracts), Forest Oil at $232,172.80 (nine tracts), Escopeta Oil & Gas at $162,956.80 (seven tracts) and Aurora gas at $98,183.20 (three tracts).

Pioneer took tracks in two large blocks: 18 tracts Pioneer are west of Knik Arm, across from Anchorage, from north of Point MacKenzie to southwest of Wasilla. The other block of tracks Pioneer took are on the west side of Cook Inlet, inland from Trading Bay and west of Aurora’s Nikolai Creek gas field.

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