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Date:  June 17, 2008
Contact:  Greg Albright (406) 896-5260 

Results of BLM's June Oil and Gas Lease Sale

Two records fell at the Bureau of Land Management’s June 17 bi-monthly oil and gas lease sale in Billings.

XTO Energy of Ft. Worth bid $8,395,200 for leasing rights on a 2,332-acre parcel in Dunn County, N.D. That bonus bid was a new all-time record for a single parcel in Montana and the Dakotas easily surpassing the previous record of $2.3 million set in January 2005. The highest per-acre bid of the sale was $4,600 and came from Helis Oil and Gas Co. of Billings for a 200-acre parcel in McKenzie County, N.D.

Total bids for the sale amounted to $30,542,779 marking a new record high for a Montana-Dakotas sale. The previous record was $13,150,221 also set in January 2005.

Of the 71 parcels offered, 24 were in Montana and 47 were in North Dakota.

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.

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