The U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s bids on oil and gas leases in Nevada netted $39,120 in an online auction held on Sept. 12, officials announced.
Three parcels in Nye County, encompassing approximately 3,680 acres in the Battle Mountain District, were offered during the September quarterly oil and gas lease sale. Bids were received on all three parcels, totaling all 3,680 acres offered, officials said in a news release.
Federal Abstract Company of Santa Fe, New Mexico, was the highest bidder, paying $9 per acre for all three parcels.
“By providing opportunities for energy development, the BLM is supporting job creation and the economy of local communities,” said Marci Todd, acting BLM Nevada state director.
BLM oil and gas leases are awarded for a period of 10 years and for as long thereafter as there is production in paying quantities. The revenue from the sale of federal leases, as well as the 12.5 percent royalties collected from the production of those leases, is shared between the federal government and the states.
The state of Nevada receives 49 percent of the proceeds of each lease sale.
In fiscal year 2016, Nevada received approximately $1.4 million from royalties, rentals and bonus bid payments for oil and gas. Statewide, more than 26,000 jobs are tied to mineral and energy development on BLM-managed public lands, BLM said. The June 13 Battle Mountain District sale generated $38,560, selling three parcels, covering approximately 5,760 acres, the agency said.
The announcement came a day after two environmental groups, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club, filed a lawsuit challenging BLM’s leases and saying that it could hurt the environment and affect human health.
Clare Lakewood, attorney for the Center of Biological Diversity, released a statement following the BLM’s announcement.
“The Trump administration is selling off our public lands for dollars per acre, to produce fossil fuels that will only hurt the health and well-being of our communities, and the habitats of vulnerable species,” Lakewood said in an email. “The public is being short-changed, and people deserve to be mad about it.”
The BLM said in a news release that potential environmental effects that could result from exploration and development are analyzed before any leases are offered for sale.
“All leases come with conditions on oil and gas activities to protect the environment that can include limits on when drilling can occur or restrictions on surface occupancy,” the news release said.
Once an operator proposes exploration or development on a BLM-issued lease, further environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act is conducted to determine the site-specific need for various types of impact-limiting or mitigation measures.
In addition, the BLM said many operators routinely use the best management practices, such as remote monitoring of producing wells and multiple wells per pad to minimize surface impacts.
The next oil and gas sale for Nevada is scheduled for the week of Dec. 12.
Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @dariasokolova77