Date: Nov. 27, 2007
Contact: Greg Albright, 896-5260
Record Bid Received at BLM Oil and Gas Lease Sale
With oil prices flirting with $100 per barrel, total bids at the Bureau of Land Management’s bi-monthly oil and gas lease auction in Billings topped $12,808,515.
While the total amount was substantial, it was not a record. However, a record was set for a single parcel in a Montana-Dakotas sale. Sinclair Oil and Gas of Salt Lake City bid $5,280,000 for a 320-acre parcel in Mountrail County, N.D. That bid was also the highest per-acre bid received at $16,500.
Only 28 of the 243 parcels offered were in North Dakota, but they all sold and accounted for $11,413,076 of the sale total. The 193 Montana parcels that received bids accounted for the remaining $1,395,439. There was also a wide gap between the two states in the average bid per acre with Montana parcels averaging $7 and North Dakota parcels averaging $825.
Two parcels were deferred from the sale after the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks informed BLM that it was negotiating to buy the surface for inclusion in the state parks system.
Prior to the sale, five groups protested a total of 155 of the offered parcels. Leases on protested parcels are not issued until the protests are resolved.
Additional information regarding competitive sale lists, detailed results of sales, or the leasing process is available by writing the Bureau of Land Management, 5001 Southgate Dr., Billings, Mont., 59101, by calling (406) 896-5004, or at www.blm.gov/mt.
Oil and gas leasing is driven by consumer demand, and competitive oil and gas lease sales are generally conducted every other month at BLM’s Montana State Office. Receipts from federal oil and gas leases are shared with the state or county where the lands are located. All leases are issued for a 10-year term.
The Forest Service and BLM analyze the potential environmental effects from exploration and development before offering any leases for sale. All leases come with conditions on oil and gas activities to protect the environment that can include limits on when drilling can occur or restrictions on surface occupancy. Once an operator proposes exploration or development on a BLM-issued lease, further environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act is conducted to determine the site-specific need for various types of impact-limiting or mitigation measures. In addition, many operators routinely use Best Management Practices such as remote monitoring of producing wells to minimize surface impacts.