In a new proposed five-year plan for offshore drilling, the Department of the Interior floated the idea of auctioning off leases to oil and gas companies in the inlet in 2026. That’s in addition to 10 lease sales proposed for the Gulf of Mexico.
Alaska and 12 other states sued the Biden administration in March, arguing the pause on leases bypassed the public process when they hit pause on the sales.
Former Alaskan Tommy Beaudreau is on his way to becoming the second in command at the U.S. Interior Department as the deputy to Secretary Deb Haaland.
Hilcorp purchased several blocks of federal leases in Cook Inlet in 2017, but before it can even think about exploring for oil and gas there, the company has to survey for potential geological hazards in the area.
The federal government has hit pause on preparations for an oil lease sale in Cook Inlet after President Joe Biden signed an executive order indefinitely halting new leases.
The Biden Administration picks for top positions at the Department of Interior include at least two dedicated opponents of Arctic oil and gas development.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is planning to solicit bids on over 1 million acres in the inlet’s federal waters, which includes anything more than three miles offshore.
A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with environmental groups, saying the agency’s review of drilling impacts was inadequate.
The potential lease sale would cover about one million acres of the inlet and would be held next year.
Hilcorp said it’s holding off on plans to conduct seismic exploration for oil and gas in lower Cook Inlet because of potential conflicts with halibut and salmon fishermen.