Action Alert: 
Support Proposed 2019 Beaufort Sea Lease Sale
Comment Deadline: Extended to Wednesday, May 30, 2018

RDC Comment Letter 

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced that it will issue a Call for Information and Nominations relating to a proposed 2019 oil and gas lease sale in the Beaufort Sea Planning Area, as included in the 2019-2024 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Draft Proposed Program (DPP) published in January. The purpose of the Call is to solicit industry nominations for areas of leasing interest and to gather comments and information on the area included for consideration in planning future OCS oil and gas lease sales.

The DPP provides for three lease sales in the Beaufort Sea: one each in 2019, 2021, and 2023. 

The DPP has not yet been approved, and a sale cannot take place unless the program in which it was proposed has been approved. However, a great deal of advance planning is required to conduct a lease sale. The fact that BOEM staff has initiated planning for these potential lease sales does not mean a decision has been made as to whether or not to hold them.

The 2019-2024 DPP is expected to be finalized in 2019. The proposed Beaufort Sea lease sale, if kept on the schedule, would be held later in 2019. 

BOEM is seeking comments on industry interest in the areas proposed for leasing, including nominations or indications of interest in specific lease blocks within the areas. BOEM is also seeking comment from any interested party relating to particular geologic, environmental, biological, archaeological, and socioeconomic considerations.

Additional information is available at:

Action Requested
Please submit comments supporting the proposed lease sale. A 30-day public comment period will end on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. 

To comment online:Please go towww.regulations.govand search BOEM-2017-0063. 

To comment by mail:
Chief, Leasing Section
BOEM, Alaska OCS Region
3801 Centerpoint Drive, Suite 500
Anchorage, AK 99503-5823

Points to consider in your comments:

  • The potential oil and gas resources that may be made available as a result of lease sales in the Beaufort Sea are fundamental to America’s energy security in the coming decades. The proposed Beaufort Sea lease sales in the 2019-2024 DPP could be a significant contributor to the nation’s energy supply into the middle of this century.
  • Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas form one of the most prospective basins in the world. Together, these areas are estimated to hold over 24 billion barrels of oil and 133 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. While the Chukchi Sea holds potentially greater amounts of oil and gas, the Beaufort is closer to existing infrastructure and could be more economical to develop at lower oil prices.
  • Despite a surge in U.S. oil production in recent years, the U.S. still imported nearly eight million barrels per day last year to meet domestic needs.
  • Offshore development would serve to help maintain the integrity of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), a critical link to America’s energy distribution. TAPS has safely transported more than 17 billion barrels of oil since it came online over 40 years ago.  
  • Twenty-eight years ago, North Slope oil production exceeded two million barrels a day, which accounted for a quarter of domestic crude oil production.  However, TAPS throughput has now declined to approximately 528,000 barrels per day. Given the vast resources potentially available offshore, future production could stem the decline, allowing for TAPS to remain viable for decades.  
  • Excluding the Beaufort Sea from future lease sales would compromise the long-term energy and economic security of Alaska. 
  • The Arctic’s untapped resources are of critical importance to both Alaska and the United States. Oil and gas development in the Arctic OCS is predicted to produce an annual average of 35,000 direct and indirect jobs over the next half century for Alaska alone. Those jobs would represent a total payroll of over $70 billion.
  • From an economic standpoint alone, promoting and fostering Arctic OCS development would represent a windfall for the national economy.  Revenues generated from Arctic OCS oil and natural gas production could amount to $200 billion to federal, state and local governments.
  • Industry has shown that impacts to marine mammal subsistence activity can be avoided and mitigated through close cooperation and communication with primary subsistence users. Newly instituted technologies will further ensure that development and environmental protection can coexist in the Arctic.
  • Leasing and subsequent exploration and development in the Beaufort Sea would bring much-needed infrastructure to the region and would also provide additional response capabilities in an area where shipping and other activities are increasing.
  • Major investments in Arctic research over decades by industry, government, and academia will provide a strong platform for responsible development that minimizes risks to other resources. 
  • Over 72% of Alaskans have supported offshore development.(Consumer Energy Alliance poll, October 2014)
  • Lease sales in the Beaufort Sea would provide some level of predictability and certainty for industry to engage in long-term strategies to develop the Arctic’s vast resources.
  • Oil and gas development in the Arctic could ultimately prove indispensable, given forecasts that predict this nation’s energy demands increasing over ten percent in the next quarter century. Even with a sharp increase in alternative energy sources, the majority of these growing energy demands will continue to be satisfied through use of fossil fuels.  

 Comment deadline is Wednesday, May 30, 2018