* Call for nominations in Arctic islands
* Region lightly explored since the 1970s
* Bent Horn oil field up for grabs in next auction
CALGARY, Alberta, March 4 Canada invited oil and
gas companies on Monday to nominate drilling lands in the
country's Arctic archipelago for inclusion in a future property
auction and said one small oil field that was discovered in the
tax-dollar-fueled exploration rush that swept the region 40
years ago will also be up for grabs.
The government's nomination process asks oil companies to
select blocks of land they would like to see posted for bidding
in a future auction.
The remote region, part of Canada's Nunavut territory, has
been little explored since the 1970s, when high oil prices,
protectionist energy policies and government grants encouraged
oil companies to drill there.
That exploration boom led to the discovery of 16 fields
containing 300 million barrels of oil and 14 trillion cubic feet
of natural gas, including the 12-million barrel Bent Horn field.
The field, on Cameron Island about 1,600 kilometers (1,000
miles) south of the North Pole, produced 2.8 million barrels of
crude from 1985 to 1996 before it was abandoned by Petro-Canada,
the former government-owned oil company acquired by Suncor
Energy Inc in 2009.
The government gave notice that Bent Horn would be included
in the next drilling-rights auction.
The call for nominations runs until April 24.