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Area companies win leases in BLM sale

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Featherstone Development Corp. of Roswell and Chase Oil Corp. of Artesia were among the successful bidders in a federal oil and gas lease sale this week.

The online lease sale proceeded Feb. 6, although hundreds of form protest letters were sent to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management by members of 11 environmental, tribal and cultural heritage groups seeking to cancel the auction.

The federal agency had planned to sell 68 parcels totaling about 17,025 acres. But two parcels, one in Kansas and one in Oklahoma, did not receive bids, so the final sale involved 66 parcels and about 16,865 acres.

The sale garnered $20.43 million for the bureau, which gives about 50% of the revenues back to the states where the parcels are located. The remaining amount goes to the U.S. Treasury.

The leases are for an initial term of 10 years but can be renewed if wells are continuing to produce after a decade.

Featherstone Development secured six leases of about 801 acres in Eddy County, bidding a total of $1.027 million.

Chase Oil Corp. successfully bid on nine leases in Eddy County. Its bids totaled $2.37 million, and the leases are for parcels of about 2,841 acres.

Two other New Mexico-based entities made successful bids. Federal Abstract Co. of Santa Fe, a title and abstract company that also bids on behalf of oil and gas producers, secured 11 leases in Sandoval and Eddy counties. It made the largest bid by far of the auction, $10.17 million for a 321-acre parcel in Eddy County.

Philip L. White of Albuquerque obtained six leases, two in Eddy County and four in counties within Oklahoma. His largest bid was $180,830 for a 120-acre parcel in Eddy County.

The next BLM lease auction is scheduled for May 20 and has been proposed by the federal agency to include 84 Chaves County parcels.

According to the Baker Hughes Rig Count, New Mexico has 112 active oil and gas rigs as of Feb. 7, while the United States has 790 rigs. That compares to 111 New Mexico rigs and 1,049 U.S. rigs on Feb. 8, 2019.

The Permian Basin of west Texas and southwest New Mexico is one of the nation’s most productive petroleum regions now. In 2018, it accounted for more than 35% of the total U.S. crude oil production and about 9% of the total U.S. dry natural gas production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which indicates that reserves for the area exceed 8 billion barrels of oil and 27 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.