Regulation changes proposed by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources in July have been filed with the lieutenant governor’s office and become effective Dec. 26, the department said in a Dec. 2 press release.
DNR Commissioner Corri Feige said the regulations allow for online lease applications, bids and lease payments, bringing the state’s oil and gas leasing processes into the 21st century.
The department said the changes in Title 11 of the Alaska Administrative Code also modernize other administrative matters associated with mineral lease sales, administration and definitions.
“The changes contained in these new regulations will empower the Division of Oil and Gs to apply modern digital and technical solutions to provide efficient leasing services to the oil and gas industry,” Feige said. “It is a testament to the hard work of the people in the Division, and I’m looking forward to us taking this next step forward.”
Currently bids on rights to explore, development and produce oil and gas on state land must be submitted as paper bids with a bid deposit, sealed by the bidder, delivered to the division and opened in public - a system which, DNR said, was virtually unchanged since statehood.
With online bidding, security will be increased, DNR said, and time and expense reduced, as the requirement to prepare paper bids, obtain certified checks for bid deposits and ensure delivery to the division office in Anchorage will be eliminated.
The regulations continue to require the public opening of bids. The revised regulations state: “Sealed bids, including bids received online, must be opened publicly” following a public notice issued in accordance with regulations.
“Online oil and gas leasing is one of the biggest changes in state lease sales since the first Areawide lease sale in 1998 offered all available tracts for said on the North Slope,” said Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy. “This will mean smoother, more reliable and more attractive conduct of the process that helps build the foundation of our state’s oil wealth, including the Alaska Permanent Fund.”
Dec. 11 salesDNR said the regulation changes do not apply to the oil and gas lease sales scheduled for Dec. 11.
The bid opening for those sales is scheduled for 9 a.m. in the Dena’ina Center, included are the Beaufort Sea, North Slope and North Slope Foothills areawide sales, and the Gwydyr Bay, Harrison Bay and Storms blocks within the Beaufort and North Slope sale areas.
The federal Bureau of Land Management has been livestreaming its bid openings, with the bid opening for BLM’s current sale scheduled for 10 a.m. Dec. 11.