BLM Auctions Exploration Leases in Arkansas, Mississippi, & West Virginia

Forty-five parcels of Federal subsurface mineral estate brought in $677,000 through a competitive auction of oil and gas leases on the Ouachita and Ozark National Forests in Arkansas, the DeSoto, Homochitto and Tombigbee National Forests in Mississippi and the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. The sale was conducted by the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management - Eastern States (BLM) on Thursday, June 23, 2005, in Springfield, Virginia. Bonus bids, filing fees, and rental revenue amounting to $508,000 will go to the U.S. Treasury and $169,000 will be shared with the three States.

The BLM has responsibility for leasing about 40 million acres of federally-owned minerals located in the 31 states East of and adjoining the Mississippi River and offers selected parcels at quarterly competitive auctions. Regulations require the bidding to open at $2 per acre. The high bid an oil gas lease at this auction was made by Robert S. Block of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who paid $356,000 for a 900 acre parcel in Johnson County, Arkansas.

Leases are awarded for a term of 10 years and as long thereafter as there is production of oil or gas in paying quantities. The Federal Government receives a royalty of 12 1/2 percent of the value of production. Also, each State Government receives a 25 percent minimum share of the bonus and royalty revenue from each lease that is issued.

The next competitive oil and gas lease sale is scheduled for September 15, 2005.

"The quality of American life depends on stable, inexpensive, and readily available supplies of energy. Energy heats and cools our homes. It fuels our ambulances, fire trucks, ships, and airplanes. It powers the companies that create jobs and the agricultural economy that feeds our Nation and the world," said BLM - Eastern States Director Mike Nedd. "That is why we are proud to help provide opportunities for environmentally safe mineral exploration and development."

Interior Department-managed land and water produce about 30 percent of our Nation's energy supply. About one-third of our natural gas, coal, and oil, one-half of geothermal, 17 percent of hydropower, and 10 percent of wind power are produced in areas managed by the U. S. Department of the Interior.

"The Department of the Interior is committed to implementing President George W. Bush's long-term strategy to produce traditional sources of energy on Federal land in an environmentally responsible way, and increase renewable energy production on Federal land, involving all interested persons in a careful and open process to meet the Nation's needs while protecting sensitive resources for future generations," said State Director Nedd.

                                EASTERN STATES

                                June 23, 2005

                       COMPETITIVE OIL AND GAS RESULTS

                                        AR       MS        WV       Total

    1. Parcels Offered                  25       16        10         51

    2. Acres Offered                11,478    4,846    16,342     32,667

    3. Parcels Receiving Bids           25       14         6         45

    4. Acres Receiving Bids         11,478     4606    10,791     28,876

    5. State Shares               $135,100   $4,200   $29,200   $168,500

    6. Federal Receipts                                         $508,500

    7. Total Federal Receipts and State Share                   $677,000

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