BLM Auctions Exploration Leases in Southern States

One hundred fifty-five parcels of Federal subsurface mineral estate brought in $6.4 million through a competitive auction of oil and gas leases on the Ouachita and Ozark National Forests in Arkansas, the Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana, and the Bienville and DeSoto National Forests in Mississippi. The sale was conducted by the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management - Eastern States (BLM) on Thursday, March 24, 2005, in Springfield, Virginia. Bonus bids, filing fees, and rental revenue amounting to $4.8 million will go to the U.S. Treasury and $1.6 million will be shared with the three States.

The BLM has responsibility for leasing the 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 in the affected state.

The next competitive oil and gas lease sale is scheduled for June 23, 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
                                March 24, 2005
                       COMPETITIVE OIL AND GAS RESULTS

                                        AR        LA        MS        Total

     1. Parcels Offered                131        14        10          155

     2. Acres Offered               49,839     2,592      3986       56,417

     3. Parcels Receiving Bids         131        14        10          155

     4. Acres Receiving Bids        49,839     2,592      3986       56,417

     5. State Shares            $1,590,956    $2,400      $578   $1,596,766

     6. Federal Receipts                                         $4,811,426

     7. Total Federal Receipts and State Share                   $6,408,192