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For Sale: Oilfield Set Aside for U.S. Navy 99 Years Ago

The U.S. government wants to sell a naval petroleum reserve field first set aside by presidential decree 99 years ago to ensure fuel supplies for American warships.

The Energy Department is seeking bids for the Teapot Dome field north of Casper, Wyoming, by Sept. 30, according to an offering document published on the website of Meagher Energy Advisors Inc. today. The field, which includes several layers of shale and oil wells more than 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) deep, currently produces about 240 barrels of crude a day.

The Teapot Dome field was designated a naval reserve in 1915. The 9,481-acre parcel is the last such reserve still under control of the Energy Department, according to the offering document.

The field has several untapped layers of oil- and gas-soaked rocks that may be suitable for enhanced recovery techniques such as carbon-dioxide flooding, according to the offering. A data room with technical details about the geology of the field is scheduled to open on July 30.

The U.S. began divesting naval petroleum reserves in 1998, when it sold the Elk Hills field near Bakersfield, California, to Occidental Petroleum Corp. for $3.65 billion.

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