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Land Office generates $15M from lease sales

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Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

The 2019 fiscal year’s first oil and gas lease sale by the New Mexico State Land Office has generated $15.4 million.

State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn announced the results Tuesday afternoon, noting that the previous fiscal year broke records in terms of revenues generated.

“We had a fantastic year in FY 18 and this month’s numbers indicate that FY 19 should be a very good year for the agency and those we serve,” said Dunn.

The Land Office indicated the following earnings for beneficiaries from the July sale: Common Schools: $13,819,232; New Mexico Miners Hospital: $1,387,900; New Mexico State Hospital: $73,470; Improvements to the Rio Grande: $40,250; and University of New Mexico: $101,900.

The monthly sales are held online in sealed and open bidding formats. In July, the sale included 27 tracts for a total of 5,282 acres in Chaves, Eddy, Lea, and San Juan Counties. This month, 28 bidders from six states registered.

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Total high bids generated $15,423,257, with nine different bidders for an average price per acre of $2,920.

Santa Fe-based Federal Abstract was the high bidder in both the sealed and open bidding formats, acquiring a total of 1,680.32 acres for $11.75 million for an average per-acre price of $6,995.07.

Oil and gas lease sale earnings are paid into the Land Maintenance Fund, which covers the State Land Office’s operating expenses. The agency is entirely self-funded and spends about three cents of every dollar it earns. The remaining revenue is distributed directly to the beneficiaries to supplement their operating budgets. Public school monies are paid into the state’s General Fund and distributed to each school district as appropriated by the Legislature.