Here’s more on the news from the Anchorage Daily News:
The move by Regenerate Alaska is the latest example of the industry stepping away from possible oil and gas development in the 19-million-acre refuge.
Hilcorp and Chevron have also canceled their interest in separate, older leases, on a small tract of Alaska Native corporation-owned land within the refuge’s boundaries. Those oil companies spent $10 million to exit their deal with Arctic Slope Regional Corp.
Regenerate Alaska, a subsidiary of Australia-based 88 Energy, purchased its lease in the federal government’s first sale in the refuge’s 1.6-million-acre coastal plain. The Trump administration held the sale in its closing days in January 2021.
Alaska Environment Action also put out the following press release:
Anchorage — The only oil company to be awarded Arctic Refuge oil leases during the January 2021 lease sale held in the final days of the Trump administration has canceled its lease, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
The news of the lease cancellation by 88 Energy comes just days after the news broke that Chevron and Hilcorp terminated their leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in October 2021. All but one of the remaining leases are held by Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA). The final lease is held by Knik Arm Services LLC, an Alaska-based company.
The coastal plain, where 88 Energy’s lease was, is often referred to as the “biological heart” of the refuge. Hundreds of thousands of caribou migrate hundreds of miles annually to give birth there, millions of migratory birds flock there to nest and polar bears den on the coastal plain over the winter.
In response, Public Lands Campaign Director Ellen Montgomery issued the following statement:
“This is exciting news. Be it Chevron or 88 Energy, no oil company should ever drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. As a crown jewel of Alaska’s Arctic ecosystems, the refuge is one of America’s wildest places. We must protect the refuge or else we risk losing irreplaceable habitat for caribou, polar bears and migratory birds.”
Alaska Environment State Director Dyani Chapman issued the following statement:
“Already banks and insurance companies have announced that they won’t finance or insure drilling operations in the refuge, sending a clear signal that drilling in the Arctic Refuge is bad for business. Now oil companies, including 88 Energy, Chevron and Hilcorp, have recognized that there is no future for fossil fuel extraction in this sensitive environment. As oil companies terminate and cancel leases, it’s time for Congress to stop the leasing program for good.”