BLM again gets low bids on lease sale

For the second straight time, Colorado’s Bureau of Land Management’s quarterly oil and gas lease sale yielded some of the lowest monetary results in decades.

Thursday’s sale generated $139,233 in proceeds, with 49 percent going to the state. BLM spokesman Jim Sample said he believes that’s the fourth-lowest sale result in terms of dollars since the late 1970s.

November’s sale was even smaller, generating $112,969, making it the third-lowest over the same time frame, Sample said.

Sample said the recent low sales likely reflect the slowdown in the oil and gas market.

“We’re talking tens of thousands of dollars as opposed to the financial points of reference that we used to have,” he said.

Sales a few years ago often were measured in millions. Most notable by far was the August 2008 sale in which oil and gas rights to more than 55,000 acres on and around the Roan Plateau were sold for about $114 million, or $2,084 per acre, in what was the BLM’s largest lease sale in the continental United States.

The highest per-acre price Thursday was paid by Martin Real Estate Co., at $160 per acre for a 432-acre parcel in Weld County. The highest overall bid was $69,280, also for the same parcel. The BLM sold rights to 1,388 acres, on five of 11 parcels that were offered. All the parcels offered are overseen by the BLM’s Royal Gorge Field Office.

The BLM makes parcels available for leasing based on nominations by private entities.

The BLM also had been scheduled Thursday to offer its first-ever geothermal lease sale in the state, for 799 acres near Buena Vista. However, in January it indefinitely deferred the sale for further environmental review following written comments it received after a public meeting in Buena Vista.

The agency already previously had deferred the sale twice, first to allow adequate time for tribal consultations and then to let the BLM and the state Department of Natural Resources review their respective regulatory requirements.


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