Americans enjoy a quality of life today that depends largely upon a stable and abundant supply of affordable energy. The energy portfolio managed by the BLM includes oil and gas, coal, oil shale, tar sands, and increasingly, renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar and geothermal.
The BLM manages the Federal government’s onshore subsurface mineral estate – about 700 million acres (30% of the United States) held by the BLM, U.S. Forest Service and other Federal agencies and surface owners -- for the benefit of the American public. It also manages some aspects of the oil and gas development for Indian tribes from the Tribal mineral estate.
Oil and gas produced from the Federal and Tribal mineral estate are significant parts of the nation’s energy mix. For fiscal year (FY) 2018, sales of oil, gas, and natural gas liquids produced from the Federal and Tribal mineral estate accounted for approximately 8 percent of all oil, 9 percent of all natural gas, and 6 percent of all natural gas liquids produced in the United States.
But not every acre of that land is being developed for energy. About 26 million Federal acres were under lease to oil and gas developers at the end of FY 2018. Of that, about 12.8 million acres are producing oil and gas in economic quantities. This activity came from over 96,000 wells on about 24,000 producing oil and gas leases.
In FY 2018 the BLM generated nearly $3 billion in Federal royalties, rental payments and bonus bids. This is before accounting for a record $972 million in bonus bids from a lease sale held by the New Mexico State Office’s Roswell and Carlsbad Field Offices on September 5 and 6, 2018. During both FY 2018 and CY 2018, BLM lease sales generated over $1.1 billion in revenue from bonus bids, first-year rental fees, and administrative fees. For comparison, the BLM fluid minerals program spent about $165 million appropriated from Congress in FY 2018.
All Federal oil and gas royalty, rental fee, and bonus bid revenue is split about half between the U.S. Treasury and the states where development occurred. The amount of annual revenue that Federal mineral development provides to the U.S. Treasury is second only to that provided by the Internal Revenue Service.