February 24, 1999 --- Vol. 5, No. 9February 1999

State takes in $2.6 million at second North Slope areawide lease sale

Seven bidding groups placed 47 bids on 40 tracts at the state of Alaska's second areawide North Slope lease sale Feb. 24 in Anchorage.

Bidding was led by ARCO Alaska Inc., bidding by itself and with Chevron U.S.A. Inc. BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. did not bid.

The preliminary high bid total was $2,596,838.40 for an estimated 178,000 acres. But, said Ken Boyd, director of the Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil and Gas, final title work for areawide sales is done after the bids are opened. Because actual tract size will be a little smaller than estimated tract size, and because bids are an amount per acre, the total sale amount will be a little smaller.

ARCO Alaska took 16 tracks in 50/50 partnership with Chevron for more than $1.75 million. Bidding by itself, ARCO Alaska took eight tracts for $428,160. Combined, ARCO accounted for $1.3 million, 50 percent of total high bonus bids. Chevron's share of the joint bids, more than $875,000, made it the second highest bidder. Other successful bidders included a partnership of J. Bachner and K. Forsgren; Anadarko Petroleum Corp.; Cliff Burglin; James W. White and James A. White.

Mike Richter, ARCO Alaska vice president of exploration and land, told PNA after the sale that the acreage the company acquired was all in the west, "so we're filling in what we picked up last time." ARCO also accounted for 50 percent of the preliminary bid total at the first North Slope areawide sale, and holds the largest state oil and gas lease acreage position, followed by BP Exploration (Alaska).

Asked why BP Exploration (Alaska) did not bid at the sale, BP spokesman Paul Laird told PNA: "We've been pretty aggressive in a number of lease sales over the past few years, and feel we've accumulated enough of a prospect inventory that we weren't interested in building it up at this point. And there wasn't anything in this sale that we are greatly interested in."

Alaska 10th in states receiving mineral revenues from federal public lands

The Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service said Feb. 24 that the state of Alaska received $5,463,996.70 as its 1998 share of minerals revenues collected from federal public lands within its borders and from federal offshore tracts adjacent to its seaward boundary.

The money, $1,341,241.08 of which came from offshore tracts, represents the state's share of bonuses, rents and royalties. In addition to this continuing share of revenues, Alaska was paid $13,400,000 by the federal government as part of its 8(g) tracts settlement in April 1998.

"A state is entitled to a share of the mineral revenues collected from federal lands located within that state's boundaries. As prescribed by the Alaska Statehood Act, Alaska gets a 90 percent share. The U.S. Treasury gets the remaining 10 percent," MMS Alaska Regional Director John Goll said in a statement.

"Coastal states, including Alaska, with federal offshore tracts adjacent to their seaward boundaries, receive 27 percent of those mineral royalties as well," Goll said. Disbursements are made to states on a monthly basis, as revenues are collected.

Most of the money goes to western states, with Wyoming topping the list at $232 million, 41.5 percent of the total, followed by New Mexico with $156 million (28 percent), Colorado $41 million (7 percent), Utah $33 million (6 percent), Montana $18.5 million (3 percent) and California $17.6 million (3 percent). Alaska ranked 10th, receiving just less than 1 percent of the total of more than $559 million.

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