After Winning Most ANWR Bids, Alaska Agency Prepares To Assume Oil Leases

“Meanwhile, some Alaska Native and environmental groups urged AIDEA to abandon the leases.”

“The Alaska state agency that submitted most of the bids in a lightly attended auction for drilling rights in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge expects to have those leases in hand by next week, the organization’s executive director said on Wednesday.

The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, a state-owned entity, is waiting for the official transfer of leases to nine tracts in the refuge coastal plain, the organization’s executive director said at a Wednesday board meeting.

The Bureau of Land Management is expected to transfer the signed leases by Jan. 21, said AIDEA executive director Alan Weitzner.

“We have 15 days to conclude the leases from the time of the sale, which is January 6,” Weitzner told board members at the teleconferenced meeting. AIDEA has received drafted lease agreements and provided some response information to the BLM, he said. “We are currently within the 15 day time period and looking to conclude these leases by that time, but it does remain subject to receipt of their signing,” he said.

The lease sale drew minimal interest, despite decades of campaigning by the oil industry and its supporters for permission to drill in the long-protected area. The AIDEA board, in an emergency meeting on Dec. 23, authorized spending of up to $20 million on leases as a backstop in case oil companies sat out the auction.”

Yereth Rosen reports for Arctic Today January 14, 2021.