Interior Dept Collects Millions from GOM, Utah Lease Sales

A sale of federal oil and natural gas leases for the Western Gulf of Mexico attracted $115,466,321 million in high bids today, following yesterday's $1.1 million sale of onshore energy leases in Utah, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced. To date this year, the department has offered 55 million acres of U.S. public land -- onshore and offshore -- for oil and gas development, generating more than $875 million in revenues.

"The responsible development of oil and gas resources on U.S. public lands is an integral part of President Obama's comprehensive energy strategy for the nation," Secretary Salazar said. "A domestic energy plan that balances the development of conventional and renewable energy resources -- both onshore and offshore -- is essential to reducing our country’s dependence on foreign oil, building a clean-energy economy, and addressing the challenges of climate change."

Western Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Lease Sale 210, held in New Orleans by Interior's Minerals Management Service, received 189 bids on 162 federal Outer Continental Shelf tracts from 27 companies. The sum of all bids received totaled $145,186,365.00. The highest bid received on a tract was $28,133,843 for Keathley Canyon, Block 96 submitted by BP Exploration & Production Inc. The high bid for each block will go through a strict evaluation process to ensure the public receives fair market value before a lease is awarded.

Yesterday, Interior's Bureau of Land Management received $1,074,094 in winning bonus bids for federal oil and gas lease rights in Utah. At its quarterly lease sale for Utah, the BLM sold 27 of the 37 offered parcels, totaling 34,648 acres of federal land in the Fillmore, Moab, Price and Vernal Field Offices. In addition to the bonus bids, the sale netted $51,984 in rental fees and $3,780 in administrative fees, for $1,129,858 in total revenues from this lease sale. Douglas Chasel of Salt Lake City, submitted the highest total bid per acre -- $925 on parcel number 72, containing 320 acres in the Vernal Field Office. Chasel also submitted the highest total bid per parcel -- $296,000 on parcel 72.

Since January, the Department of the Interior has held 21 onshore lease sales and two offshore auctions, offering a total of more than 55 million acres of U.S. public lands for oil and natural gas development. Those sales have generated more than $875 million in revenues.

The onshore sales offered 1,930 parcels, encompassing 2.4 million acres, and companies bought 1,021 of those parcels, generating $70.2 million in bonus bids and leasing fees for American taxpayers. Interior's Bureau of Land Management will hold another 19 sales in the West this year for a total of 40 onshore federal oil and gas lease auctions in 2009.

Interior's Minerals Management Service has held two offshore lease sales this year.

Central Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 208 on March 18 offered 6,458 parcels, encompassing 34.5 million acres; leased 1,784,242 of those acres in 328 parcels; and collected revenue of $690,163,194.40. Today’s Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 210 offered 3,435 parcels, encompassing 18.4 million acres, and generated $115 million in revenue.


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