Recently cashed up XCD Energy (ASX: XCD) requested a trading halt on Thursday pending the outcome of its bids in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve, in what has been dubbed the most successful Alaskan oil and gas lease sale in over 10 years.
The US Bureau of Land Management’s Alaska State Office held the annual lease sale, with bid opening kicking-off at 10am on Wednesday 11 December.
In this year’s oil and gas lease sale, 350 tracts were up for grabs covering 3.98 million acres.
All up, the winning bids totalled US$11.2 million in revenue for the Alaskan State and US Government.
The North Slope is home to some of the biggest oil and gas majors and super majors including Repsol, Hillcorp, ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) and ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP).
Recent discoveries on the slope have exceed 1 billion barrels of conventional oil, with more than 16 billion barrels produced to-date from several oil fields on the slope.
Dominating this week’s bidding was explorer Bill Armstrong’s company North Slope Exploration LLC.
Mr Armstrong is known for pioneering the discovery of the region’s Nanushuk formation, which resulted in him selling his holding in the Pikka Unit prospect to Oil Search for US$850 million in 2017.
North Slope collared 85 of the 92 tracts, with the company’s new leases encompassing almost 1 million acres.
XCD cashed up and ready to explore
XCD participated in the bidding process and expects to release more information from its successful bidding and how many tracts it secured on Monday.
The company recently completed a $2 million capital raising to advance its primary Project Peregrine asset on the North Slope.
Speaking with Small Caps, XCD managing director Dougal Ferguson said it was “good news” for the company that Mr Armstrong had pegged up so much ground in the area.
Mr Ferguson pointed out Mr Armstrong unlocked the Nanushuk play in the state lands before and it is reasonable to assume he knows what he is looking for and is “going into the NPR-A looking for more”.
Meanwhile, ConocoPhillips discovered the Willow prospect in 2017 and is undertaking a major appraisal drilling campaign and also exploration at its Harpoon prospect, both of which are within 35km from XCD’s existing oil leases.