ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Hilcorp Energy Co. was the only bidder in Alaska’s annual Cook Inlet oil and gas lease sale for the fourth year in a row, officials said.

The Alaska Division of Oil and Gas received three bids from the Houston-based producer, The Alaska Journal of Commerce reported Monday.

The state made nearly $179,000 for the sale of 7,146 acres (11.1 square miles or 29 square kilometers) of land leased.

Hilcorp’s bids averaged $26.76 per acre.

Hilcorp is the primary oil and gas operator in the area and has been the only company to bid in the state’s spring Cook Inlet leases sale since 2016, when there were no bids submitted. The company acquired 17 tracts of land between 2017 and 2019.

In this year’s sale, Hilcorp leased the rights to one tract of land adjacent to the oil-bearing Cosmopolitan Unit on the southern Kenai Peninsula, which also contains gas. Two other tracts leased are on the west side of Cook Inlet on the Iniskin Peninsula.

Hilcorp is awaiting regulatory approval of its proposed $5.6 billion purchase of BP Alaska assets in the state.


Oil production from the Cook Inlet has averaged about 15,000 barrels daily in recent years, but the basin is best known for being the lone supply of natural gas for Anchorage and the remainder of Southcentral Alaska.

Division of Oil and Gas Director Tom Stokes said the auction was the state’s first online-only lease sale.

“We have been working hard to update the way the division does business, including providing scientific data, making lease offerings available globally and conducting auctions online,” Stokes said.

The sale was conducted for the state by EnergyNet Services LLC, a Texas-based firm that specializes in commodities and oil and gas property auctions.

The relationship should enhance the state’s ability to offer prospective oil and gas acreage to broader markets worldwide, the oil and gas division said in a statement.