BLM leases 42,986 acres; all parcels protested

The Colorado Bureau of Land Management pulled six parcels in Rio Blanco County for further review before it held its quarterly oil and gas lease sale Thursday.

The agency last week deferred leasing of six parcels totaling 1,913 acres in the northwest part of the county after protests by environmental groups.

BLM spokesperson Vanessa Delgado said the parcels will be reviewed for wildlife and other issues to determine if leasing them fits into the resource management plan for the White River Field Office.

“Chances are, with those specific parcels that we pulled, they’ll be up on our August sale,” she said.

The bulk of the deferred acreage is in the Scullion Gulch area north of Rangely, near the Moffat County line.

The BLM on Thursday sold 43 parcels of 51 offered at its quarterly lease sale. A total of 42,986 acres were leased, out of 55,597 offered.

Delgado said all of the parcels were protested. Protests have become commonplace in recent BLM lease sales.

The parcels offered were scattered across the state, from Routt County to southwest Colorado to the eastern plains. The heaviest concentration was in the south-central part of the state, in Huerfano County, the site of the highest bonus bid made Thursday. Hannon & Associates Inc. bid $56,300 for a 562-acre parcel.

The highest per-acre price was $130 per acre paid by Liberty Petroleum Corp. for a 14.7-acre parcel in Dolores County.

Overall, the lease sale earned $642,057 in proceeds. Forty-nine percent will go the state and the rest to the federal government.

This year’s Colorado lease sale proceeds have paled in comparison to some of last year’s, which occurred when natural gas prices were higher and parcels were offered in the drilling hot spot of Garfield County.

A November lease sale included a bid of $10,600 per acre for 448 acres in the Garfield Creek area of the county.

In August, the leasing of some 55,000 acres on the Roan Plateau near Rifle included a bid by Williams Production RMT of $11,800 per acre for 2,140 acres.

The Roan lease sale generated $113.9 million, making it the BLM’s largest lease sale ever in the continental United States.


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