FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2013, file photo, a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter flies over the Kulluk, the Shell floating drilling barge off Kodiak Island in Alaska's Kiliuda Bay, as salvage teams conduct an in-depth assessment of its seaworthiness. Citing the disappointing results from an exploratory well in 2015, and challenging and unpredictable federal regulatory environment, Shell abandoned drilling in U.S. Arctic waters. The Trump administration is pursuing petroleum lease sales in Arctic waters but an analyst says potential bidders may find other areas more attractive. (James Brooks/Kodiak Daily Mirror via AP, File)

US Arctic offshore lease sales may resume, with same risks

January 05, 2018 - 5:22 pm

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Trump administration is pursuing petroleum lease sales in Arctic waters off Alaska's coast but an analyst says potential bidders may find other areas more attractive.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Thursday proposed a wide range of petroleum lease sales in U.S. waters including 19 in Alaska and six within Arctic waters.

The Obama administration did not include Arctic Ocean leases in its five-year leasing plan.

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker says Trump's plan is an important step toward allowing Alaska to responsibly develop its natural resources.

But energy experts say drilling for oil in Alaska's remote frontier areas is extremely expensive and say companies may choose to invest elsewhere.

Energy companies would also face fierce opposition from environmental groups opposed to Arctic offshore drilling.

Walker is an independent facing re-election.

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