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Land Office gets $1.5 million from royalty audits

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The New Mexico State Land Office has collected $1.5 million from royalty audits so far in 2019, a 47% increase from 2018.

These funds were collected by the Royalty Management Division team after audits were conducted on Land Office business with Chevron, DCP Midstream, Marbob Energy, Dugan Production and Energen Resources, according to an agency announcement Thursday.

The additional $1.5 million from 2019 royalty audits will be added to the Land Grant Permanent Fund, which funds public schools, universities and hospitals throughout the state.

Since assuming office in January, Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard has been working to enhance the auditing capacity at the State Land Office. The Royalty Management Division is tasked with auditing 85% of Land Office royalty revenue every five years. Staff auditors and compliance analysts look for mistakes and errors in processing from all businesses that lease state trust land and are required to pay royalty on oil or gas extracted on the leases.

Money received by the State Land Office from leases is deposited into one of two funds. The Land Maintenance Fund or the Land Grant Permanent Fund. Money received from land leases that do not deplete a resource, such as renewable energy and agriculture, is deposited into the Land Maintenance Fund. Money received from business that depletes a resource, like oil and gas extraction, development of mineral resources, or land exchanges or sales, is deposited into the Land Grant Permanent Fund, which is then invested by the State Investment Council.