The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has issued a call to nominate buyers for potential oil and gas lease sale 242 at the upcoming Beaufort Sea Planning Area (BSPA) off the coast of Alaska in 2017.
The move by BOEM is part of its plan to boost domestic energy production.
During the 45-day call, BOEM also plans to gather information about promising oil and gas resource areas within the BSPA, as well as gain knowledge about environmentally sensitive areas and their importance.
BOEM acting director Walter Cruickshank said: "There is significant oil and gas potential in the Beaufort Sea but this part of the Arctic Ocean is also a unique and sensitive environment that is critically important to the subsistence needs of Alaska native communities on the North Slope.
"Any consideration of future leasing must be done in a way that identifies not only the areas that have resource potential but also those areas that must be protected for wildlife and traditional uses."
If a company files nomination for areas outside the proposed site, then it will have to provide detailed information, including relevant geologic, geophysical and economic information, claimed BOEM.
The agency has also urged interested firms to comment on BOEM’s analysis of areas for potential leasing.
Comments may include information about geological conditions, such as bottom hazards, archaeological sites on the seabed or near shore, multiple uses of the area including navigation and subsistence, and other socioeconomic, biological or environmental information.
BOEM aims to promote energy independence, environmental protection and economic development through the use of offshore conventional and renewable energy resources.