Federal government to sell leases at Alaska Petroleum Reserve

The federal government intends to hold a major oil and gas lease sale this fall in portions of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, officials in Washington, D.C., announced today.

The Bureau of Land Management, which acts as landlord for the Indiana-sized reserve on Alaska's North Slope, today issued a "record of decision" spelling out land to be leased.

Much of the NPR-A has been the subject of environmental challenges in court.

"The rapid increase in energy costs facing our nation is driven by a worldwide imbalance in energy supply and demand," Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said. "Developing the NPR-A in an environmentally sound manner will contribute to our domestic oil and natural gas supplies. Together with new production from other offshore and onshore areas, these increased supplies will help stabilize energy costs."

The lease sale in the reserve's northeast and northwest sections could result in development of 8.4 billion barrels of oil as well as trillions of cubic feet of natural gas, the BLM said.

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