Image courtesy of ConocoPhillips.

State and federal lease sales in Alaska generated higher than expected interest last week as upstreams scooped up North Slope tracts.

The Alaska Division of Oil and Natural Gas received 410 bids from companies and investors seeking oil and gas leases on state lands during the division’s annual North Slope, Beaufort Sea and North Slope Foothills lease sales.

The sale was held on December 14 and generated $17.8 million in winning bids, the division said.

The division received 402 bids on 384 North Slope tracts for a total of 599,880 acres, with winning bids totaling $16.9 million.

The North Slope lease sale was the second largest of its kind since 1998 by acreage and was the third largest sale by dollar amount since 1998.

The division received eight bids on seven tracts in the Beaufort Sea with winning bids totaling just over $870,000.

The division did not receive any bids for lease tracts in the North Slope Foothills.

“Today’s lease sale results are very encouraging and demonstrate that the state of Alaska remains highly attractive to companies and investors interested in exploring and developing untapped hydrocarbon resources,” Division of Oil and Gas director Chantal Walsh said.

Upstream interest was also high during a federal oil and gas lease sale held on the same day.

The federal sale, conducted by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), received 92 bids on 67 tracts for its December lease sale, according to the Alaska Dispatch News.

Officials with the state’s BLM told the paper that the amount of interest in the sale was “outstanding.”

The sale was held on December 14 in Anchorage and offered oil and gas leases within Alaska’s 22.8-million-acre National Petroleum Reserve.

The bids generated $18.8 million for 614,000 acres, with the state slated to receive $9.4 million in revenue, the Alaska Dispatch News said.

According to Oil and Gas 360, the sale generated the highest number of bids since 2010.

The number of bids the state’s BLM received this year dwarfs last years total of six bids that were worth about $789,000, according to KTOO.