ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The first sale of state oil and gas leases in 22 years on the Alaska Peninsula generated 37 bids Wednesday, with a major oil company winning the most.
Shell Offshore Inc., part of Shell Exploration & Production Co. (search), was the high bidder on 33 tracts, all centered near Port Moeller. The site is southeast of Nelson Lagoon, about 580 miles southwest of Anchorage.
Hewitt Mineral Corp. (search) of Ardmore, Okla., was high bidder on four tracts in the same area.
Alaska offered 1,047 tracts covering about 5.8 million acres, an area about the size of New Hampshire. The sale acreage available stretched from the Nushagak Peninsula in the north, down the north side of the Alaska Peninsula, to an area north of Cold Bay, including offshore tracts.
The bids generated about $1.3 million. The minimum bid was $5 per acre.
Shell submitted identical bids of $5.02 per acre generating $28,911 per tract on its 33 successful bids. Hewitt bid $21.14 per acre, and a total of $121,767 each, for two tracts. It bid $6.11 per acre for two other tracts. The 10-year leases have a fixed royalty rate of 12.5 percent.
Local support for the sale contributed to preparing lease details in two years rather than the usual three, said Mark Myers, director of the Alaska Division of Oil and Gas. The communities want local energy supplies and a stimulus to the economy, he said. The state and communities negotiated restrictions to protect the environment but still make drilling viable, Myers said. The leases ban offshore drilling.