An online oil and gas lease auction held by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has brought in almost $131 million for 15,332 acres in six New Mexico counties.
The competitive bidding Thursday morning for 62 parcels in Chaves, Curry, Eddy, Lea, Quay and Roosevelt counties resulted in sales of $130,855,717, according to the BLM. The money will be distributed between the federal government and New Mexico.
The total received for leases of 10 parcels totaling 4,476.04 acres in Chaves County was $405,119, said BLM spokesperson Lisa Morrison.
The highest bid per acre was made by Percheron Pro Service of Katy, Texas. That company bid $37,559 for a parcel in Eddy County, Morrison said.
According to the BLM, the agency’s energy program includes an “all-of-the-above approach” that includes oil and gas, coal, strategic minerals and renewable sources, all of which can be developed on public lands.
Two groups, the Wilderness Society and WildEarth Guardians, did file protests regarding the lease sales. WildEarth Guardians, based in Santa Fe, is suing in federal court to block the U.S. Interior Department from allowing more lease sales that would allow fracking operations. Its website talks about concerns regarding pollution and the tying up of public lands for such activity.
Oil and gas leases are awarded for a term of at least 10 years. The federal government receives a royalty of 12-1/2 percent of the value of production. Each state government receives a 25 percent minimum share of the bonus bid and the royalty revenue from each lease issued in that state, according to the BLM.
The next BLM New Mexico oil and gas lease sale is scheduled for Dec. 7. No Chaves County parcels are included at this time. The New Mexico State Land Office also is scheduled to hold an online mineral lease Sept. 19 for 10 tracts in Eddy and Lea counties.