Oil speculation yields another Wyo. lease record

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Widespread industry excitement about a possible oil play in eastern Wyoming has resulted in another record state lease sale, this one bringing in $49 million.

Dozens of companies have been competing to drill into the Niobrara Shale, betting that a combination of techniques can unlock vast amounts of oil from the formation.

Wyoming’s Office of State Lands and Investments on Wednesday auctioned off the right to drill on 72,011 acres, mainly in eastern Wyoming.

The sale broke the previous record of $46 million from an auction in May. Auctioning off drilling access to state land has netted Wyoming an unprecedented $150 million this year, including $42 million from a July auction held specially to meet industry demand for access to drill on state land.

About 30 percent of the money goes into the state’s general and most of the rest benefits public schools.

Wednesday’s average high bid was $680 an acre. Denver-based Baseline Minerals Inc., submitted the highest per-acre bid of $4,725 for drilling rights on 640 acres in east-central Wyoming.


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