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Carlsbad Pilot Office

The Carlsbad Pilot Office is responsible for 2.2 million acres of BLM-administered surface acres and 1.9 million acres of BLM-administered mineral estate. These public lands encompass all or part of Eddy, Lea, and southern Chavez Counties of southeastern New Mexico. 

The Pilot Office manages diverse natural resources and provides for a variety of uses, including livestock grazing; non-motorized and motorized recreation; interpretation of cultural resources; and oil, gas, and potash development. Lands are important to communities for recreation, wildlife habitat, caves, karsts, and wilderness. 

The Permian Basin of southeast New Mexico and west Texas is considered a very significant oil- and gas-producing basin. The Carlsbad office administers approximately 15,000 wells in the Basin. Exploration and development of oil and gas resources continue to grow in an large area that has actively been mined for potash since World War II. 

Virtually all of the high potential for oil and gas development has been leased, but over the past few years, changes in state well-spacing regulations, increased oil and gas commodity pricing, and resulting infill drilling have doubled the number of estimated federal mineral wells to be drilled and produced over the next 20 years. As a result, the Carlsbad Pilot Office is considered one of Bureau’s largest oil and gas permitting, inspection, and enforcement offices. 

Large-scale development of wind energy sites is also occurring, with similar impacts from mineral material permitting that provides sand and gravel construction materials.

The Carlsbad Pilot Office completed 46 percent more environmental inspections in FY 2007, compared with FY 2005. Environmental violations on leases administered by the Carlsbad office decreased 36 percent over the same period. Under-reported production of oil and gas also declined in the office area, by 58 percent in each case. 

Carlsbad concluded 2007 with 25 percent fewer APDs pending than at the close of 2005. APD processing in Carlsbad is being supported with an innovative automated system that tracks APDs and allows specialists to conduct NEPA reviews concurrently, improving the reliability and timeliness of APD processing.

Last updated: 10-20-2009