Since the last plan was written, advances have been made in drilling technology and the Nanushuk geologic formation has emerged, Balash said. The formation is the primary source for two discoveries that have the potential to produce more than 100,000 barrels per day. Rewriting the plan should take about a year, he said.
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – The Trump administration said on Tuesday it will be auctioning off nearly 4 million acres (1.6 million hectares) of land in Arctic Alaska for oil development next month, and it is promising much more territory will be open to development in the future. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced that its annual oil and gas lease sale in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska will be held on Dec. 11. The sale will be the 15th in a series of oil lease sales held by the BLM for that region on the western side of Alaska's North Slope. The BLM is also finishing up a draft plan to overturn Obama-era protections that put about half of the 23-million-acre (9.3-million-hectare) reserve off limits to oil development, citing needs to protect caribou, migratory birds and other resources important to the region's indigenous people and to the nation. The Trump administration and the oil industry argue the Obama plan is too restrictive and needs to be replaced.