The state of Alaska has received oil and gas lease bids for 48,000 acres in near-shore waters of the Beaufort Sea. Alaska oil and gas leasing and permitting manager Jonne Slemons says the results are preliminary. All 18 tracts are within state-regulated waters up to three miles from shore.
Bids totaled $823,468.80.
The lease sale Thursday for marine waters off the state's north coast drew criticism from Native Alaska and environmental groups, which said tracts were offered in sensitive areas. Development would threaten whales, seals, birds, polar bears and people who rely on a subsistence lifestyle, according to the groups.
Several North Slope oil fields already have been developed in state waters of the Beaufort -- the Endicott, Northstar, Oooguruk fields. And Italian oil giant Eni is developing the Nikaitchuq field just off the coast in the Beaufort.
The Anchorage Daily News/adn.com contributed to this article.