Record Number of Bids for Cook Inlet Leases
Officials from the Alaska Division of Oil and Gas attribute the record number of bids submitted this year to explore Cook Inlet as a sign that their strategy is working.
As Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell’s administration works to find new ways to attract oil and gas development across the state, officials from the Alaska Division of Oil and Gas attribute the record number of bids submitted this year to explore Cook Inlet as a sign that their strategy is working.
On Wednesday, the Alaska Division of Oil and Gas received more than 110 bids from 11 bidders totaling $11 million in leases to explore Cook Inlet—the areas range from 640 acres to 5,760 acres. Division director Bill Barron said the bids are a result of work that the legislature has done to promote exploration in Alaska.
He said the discovery of oil and gas in Southcentral Alaska has created a “tremendous opportunity” with very low costs for gas-heated homes and businesses.
Apache Alaska Corporation was the main bidder and placed 92 bids for more than 500,000 acres at a total cost of more than $7 million. The company already had roughly 300,000 acres it acquired in 2010, but is looking to expand.
“Cook Inlet is underexplored for oil and there has never been the type of seismic exploration undertaken that we will be doing over the next two years,” said Lisa Parker, spokesperson for Apache Alaska Corporation.
While division officials believe oil incentives brought interest this year to Cook Inlet, Apache Alaska Corporation said it’s about securing its place in Alaska’s future oil industry.
“Infrastructure exists in Cook Inlet to deliver oil to markets. We have an existing refinery here in Cook Inlet that could potentially be a buyer of that product,” said Parker.
Bottom line, officials say these projects could bring hundreds of jobs to Alaska, but it could be years before residents see an impact.