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U.S. leases out Alaska land for oil, gas

Dec. 8, 2011 at 7:14 AM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Three companies won the rights to explore and develop oil and natural gas on more than 141,000 acres in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.

Energy companies 70 & 148 LLC, Woodstone Resources LLC and ConocoPhillips submitted winning bids for the rights to develop 17 tracts covering roughly 141,739 acres of land during a lease sale in the NPR-A, the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management announced.

The sale follows an agreement from Conoco for a proposal to build a pipeline and access road into the NPR-A, the first such development for the area. The Interior Department said that development would encourage the exploration of the 23 million-acre reserve managed by the BLM.

"As industry begins to build infrastructure and explore and develop oil and gas in this area of the North Slope of Alaska, we expect to harness the energy and economic benefits of the NPR-A for our nation," Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said in a statement.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates Alaska has as much as 896 million barrels of oil and 53 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

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