August 14, 2008

Contact: Steven Hall, 303-239-3672

Roan Plateau lease sale earns $113.9 million--highest return in BLM history

LAKEWOOD—The long-anticipated Roan Plateau lease sale netted $113.9 million, making it the highest grossing onshore oil and natural gas lease sale in BLM history  in the lower 48 states. A total of 54,631 acres in 31 parcels were sold. The previous high for a BLM oil and natural gas lease sale in Colorado was $11.8 million in February 2006.

The Bureau of Land Management Colorado State Office conducted the lease sale, with 31 bidders participating among approximately 100 in attendance. The State of Colorado will receive 49 percent of the lease sale proceeds, as well as 49 percent of future royalties from oil and natural gas production on the Roan. No money from the sale will be dispersed until the BLM Colorado State Office resolves protests to the lease sale, including protests from various environmental groups and the State of Colorado.

The Roan Plateau lease sale culminates an eight year, public planning effort by the BLM. Legislation introduced by the Colorado Congressional delegation in 1997 transferred the Naval Oil Shale Reserves 1 and 3 to the BLM. The Transfer Act stated “beginning on the date of enactment of this section, or as soon as practicable, the Secretary of the Interior shall enter into leases” for development and production of oil and natural gas. Since then, the BLM has worked with local and state government, constituent groups and the public to craft one of the most environmentally sensitive resource management plans authorizing oil and natural gas development in the BLM’s history.

“Today’s lease sale does not authorize drilling. Additional environmental analysis and public planning will occur prior to any drilling on the Roan Plateau,” said BLM Colorado State Director Sally Wisely. “Future environmental analysis and planning will ensure that the public’s tremendous natural gas reserves in the Roan Plateau are recovered in an economically and environmentally responsible manner.”

Key elements of the Roan Plateau plan include:
· Development on top of the plateau will be confined to existing road corridors, with disturbance limited to approximately 1%, or 350 acres on top.
· More than 50 percent – 38,470 acres - of the planning area is stipulated no surface occupancy.
· Development on top of the Plateau will be conducted in a staged, ridge-by-ridge approach, with well pads more than ½ miles apart to minimize wildlife habitat fragmentation.
· Leases for the top of the Plateau will require operators to enter into a single federal unit, with consolidation of planning and operations under a single unit operator. This more efficient approach reduces impacts to other natural resources by consolidating infrastructure and providing for a more orderly, planned development.

The federal government has paid $2.39 billion in mineral royalties, bonus payments and rental fees to Colorado since 1922. In 2007, the state received $123 million in federal mineral payments.

Statewide, BLM accounts for about 11.5 percent of new oil and gas wells. In 2007, the state of Colorado processed 6,368 applications for drilling permits, with 733 on federal lands or federal minerals. The remaining wells are on state-owned or private lands.

Summary of sale:

Number of pacels sold: 31
Number of acres sold: 54,631.190
Average bid per acre: $2,084.05
High bid per acre: $11,800.00
High Bonus Bid: $25,252,000.00
Total Bonus bid: $113,853,914.00
Total Revenues: $113,940,215.50

High bidder: $11,800.00/acre bid
The Sellmar CO DBA Sellersearch

High bidder: $25,252,000.00 Total Bonus
The Sellmar Co DBA Sellersearch

For full sale results, including bidders' names, click here.

(additional info on the lease sale will be posted online as it becomes available at