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Lease sale sets record for State Land Office

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A new record was set by the New Mexico State Land Office for oil and gas lease sales.

The November sale generated $43,286,740.60, making it the highest single-month yield in the organization’s history.

“What a way to usher in the holidays,” State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn said. “We anticipated having a good month, but I am truly surprised by how successful the sale was.”

The beneficiaries of the sale are public K12 schools, $15,200,957.20; New Mexico Penitentiary, $27,761,460; and the University of New Mexico, $324,323.40.

The previous single-month record of $30,035,248 was recorded in July 2017.

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Each month, State Land Office lease sales are held online in sealed and open bidding formats. Katy, TX-based Percheron Energy was the high bidder in the November sealed bidding, purchasing 1,999.31 acres for $26,002,000. Louisiana-based BETA Land Services submitted the highest bid in the open format, purchasing 320 acres for $5,120,100.

In all, 35 tracts — totaling 7,969.01 acres — were offered in Lea, Chaves and McKinley counties. A total of 32 bidders from eight states participated, with nine bidders obtaining leases for an average per-acre price of $5,431.88.

Dunn said that productivity in the Permian Basin has been a mixed blessing for New Mexico.

“On one hand, money is being generated at an unprecedented rate, but the flip side is that with the increased productivity comes problems,” Dunn said. “I’ve already gone on record to say that our environment is suffering as a result of unenforced environmental regulations and unscrupulous business practices in the oil patch and beyond. As a result, the land, its resources and the citizens of New Mexico are not being afforded the protection they deserve.”