Alaska oil, gas auction set for November

Sept. 26, 2012 at 7:17 AM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- A lease sale for oil and gas acreage in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska is scheduled for Nov. 7, the U.S. Interior Department announced.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said 400 tracts that cover about 4.5 million acres in the NPR-A will go on the auction block. The lease is the second in the past year. Salazar said the November sale is part of U.S. President Barack Obama's strategy for energy security.

"The energy resources of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska are essential to meeting our nation's energy demands and will enhance domestic energy production and decrease dependency on foreign oil sources," he said in a statement. "The November sale is in line with the president's direction to continue to expand domestic energy production, safely and responsibly."

NPR-A was established in 1923 to ensure the U.S. military had enough energy as it moved from coal-fired power. The last auction was in December.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimated in 2010 the petroleum reserve in Alaska contains approximately 896 million barrels of undiscovered oil.

The Interior Department said, only one exploratory well has been drilled in the NPR-A.

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