State delays Slope lease sale, hoping to add acreage
The state will delay a North Slope lease sale planned for Oct. 26 for a few weeks with hopes that more acreage can be added and more companies can be enticed to bid for leases.
A new date for the sale will be announced very soon, state Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan said. It is expected that it will be held in December, however.
Sullivan said there are two main reasons for the decision. One is that there is currently litigation affecting some state leases, settlement discussions that are under way, and the possibility that some leases may expire and become available for inclusion in the lease sale.
The sale is an area-wide sale, which typically includes all unleased state lands.
Sullivan wouldn't identify the specific lawsuit or leases involved but the state has had a long-standing court case under way with the Point Thomson Unit that includes ExxonMobil Corp., BP and Chevron are major leaseholders.