WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said it extended a comment period for a lease in the Chukchi Sea because of the federal government shutdown.
The BOEM issued what it said was a call for information on the proposed sale of oil and natural gas acreage in the Chukchi Sea, off the northeast coast of Alaska, Sept. 26. It was slated to last through Monday.
"However, in light of the federal government shutdown from Oct. 1 through Oct. 16, BOEM is extending the comment period to ensure its partner agencies, industry and the public have adequate time to review the issues and comment," the agency said in a statement Wednesday.
BOEM, a division within the U.S. Interior Department, said the call was to solicit information on specific blocks that appear to show promise for oil and natural gas exploration.
"An early step in the offshore oil and gas planning process, the call does not indicate a final decision about any areas in the Chukchi Sea that may be offered for oil and gas leasing in the future," the regulator said.
A 56-page report published in April by the U.S. Interior Department said changes in arctic sea ice cover is sparking interest of offshore developers keen on tapping into unexplored reserves of oil and natural gas.