April 22, 1999 --- Vol. 5, No. 20April 1999

Cook Inlet areawide sale draws $2.4 million from 10 bidding groups

Ten bidding groups were apparent high bidders on 46 tracts, 199,040 acres, for a total of $2.4 million at the state's first areawide Cook Inlet oil and gas lease sale, held April 21 in Anchorage.

Total high bonus bids were $2,423,241.60 with an average per acre bid of $12.17.

Ken Boyd, director of the Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil and Gas, said he was pleased with the bids the state received. "Not bad," he said, "for a 40-year-old basin."

Boyd said the division received 59 bids on 51 tracts, but that five of those tracts were among the 70 tracts in a suit filed by environmental groups. State superior court Judge Sigurd Murphy issued an order April 20 preventing the state from issuing leases on the 70 tracts until pending litigation is settled.

Boyd also noted that title work for areawide sales is done after the sale and only on those tracts receiving bids. Total acreage will be less than the 199,040 acres estimated, as will the dollar total because the total bid for each tract is based on the number of acres in the tract.

Highest bid $307,699.20

ARCO Alaska Inc. bid on only one tract at the sale, but that was the highest bid, $307,699.20, and the highest bid per acre, $53.42. The state received five bids on that tract, offshore along the southern Kenai Peninsula north of Anchor Point. The tract is at the southern end of a group of seven tracts held by ARCO, Anadarko and Forcenergy and a single tract held by Mobil and others at the Starichkof prospect where Pennzoil drilled two wells in 1967.

Unocal takes most acreage

Unocal was apparent high bidder on 57,600 acres - 29 percent of acres receiving bids. The company took a single track north of Kasilof on the Kenai Peninsula and nine tracts running from north of Big Lake to Knik.

Escopeta Production Alaska Inc. took 43,520 acres, 22 percent of the acreage, with apparent high bids of $480,326.40. Escopeta took two tracks in the Susitna area on the west side of Cook Inlet, two tracts west of Tyonek and eight offshore tracks north and northwest of Nikiski.

Ron Wilson of Houston took three onshore tracts in the Anchor Point area $345,600 for approximately 17,280 acres. Forcenergy Inc. took three tracts, are offshore south of Tyonek, some 7,680 acres, for $208,640. Phillips Petroleum Co. took three four tracks onshore in the Anchor Point area, some 23,040 acres, for $212,774. Marathon Oil Co. took two tracts, some 11,520 acres, for $205,574. One of the tracts is onshore at Clam Gulch; the other is offshore north of Ninilchik.

Warren Z. Buck of New Mexico took nine tracts, some 21,120 acres, for $117,126, most in the Trading Bay area. Two local bidding groups took one tract each offshore north of Kalgin Island, each estimated at 5,760 acres and bid at $29,620.

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