The leasing programme will determine where the leasing will occur in the 1.56 million-acre Coastal Plain within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
The US Department of Interior (DOI) has approved the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska.
The oil and gas leasing programme will determine where the leasing will occur in the 1.56 million-acre Coastal Plain within the 19.3 million-acre ANWR. It will also include terms and conditions of leasing.
US Department of the Interior secretary David Bernhardt said: “Congress directed us to hold lease sales in the ANWR Coastal Plain, and we have taken a significant step in meeting our obligations by determining where and under what conditions the oil and gas development program will occur.
“Our program meets the legal mandate that Coastal Plain leaseholders get the necessary rights-of-way, easements and land areas for production and support facilities they need to find and develop these important Arctic oil and gas resources.”
DOI’s decision makes available 1,563,500 acres for oil and gas leasing
The DOI’s record of decision makes available approximately 1,563,500 acres for oil and gas leasing, and subsequently for potential future exploration, development and transportation.
Alaska Governor Michael Dunleavy said: “The Record of Decision is a definitive step in the right direction to developing this area’s energy potential – between 4.3 and 11.8 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil reserves.”
As per the approved plan, a majority of the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program area will be conditional no surface occupancy restrictions (359,400 acres) and operational timing limitations (585,400 acres) in order to protect habitat and wildlife.
The latest move, however, is being opposed by environmental groups who argue that it would damage the sensitive area, reported IANS.