Shell, Conoco, Repsol increase Alaska oil holdings

Thu Dec 8, 2011 1:00am GMT

* Oil companies win oil lease rights

* Bids for state territories top $20.9 million

* Bids for federal NPR territories top $3 million.

By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell on Wednesday acquired exploration rights to state territory off Alaska's northern coast, while ConocoPhillips increased holdings on both state and federal lands on the North Slope.

Shell, ConocoPhillips and Spanish oil company Repsol, which acquired significant North Slope acreage, were active bidders in a series of state and federal oil lease sales held in Anchorage.

Those and other companies and groups submitted over $20.9 million in high bids for state onshore and offshore territory and over $3 million in high bids for federal onshore territory in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

Shell won rights to 18 tracts in Harrison Bay, an area north of the federally managed NPR-A. Shell has been working on an ambitious program to drill offshore in federal waters off Alaska's Arctic coastlines, but the move to state offshore territory is new for the company.

Curtis Smith, spokesman for Shell in Alaska, said the company continues to concentrate on its exploration plans in federal waters of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas but is seeking to diversify its offshore operations.   Continued...

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