Wyoming's three designated funds collectively grossed nearly $30 million from the state's first online oil and natural gas lease auction earlier this month, the Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investment (OSLI) said on Monday.
The state lands agency said 197 parcels covering more than 85,882 acres in 11 counties were sold, grossing $29.79 million, the state's biggest windfall from oil and gas leasing since 2011.
The online auction was open for a week and attracted more than 70 bidders. Winning bids varied from $1.00/acre to $2,531.00/acre.
State officials in recent months have seen the U.S. Bureau of Land Managementmove its lease sales online with some success, and they wanted to duplicate that on the state level, said OSLI Director Bridget Hill. "We're now experiencing that benefit in a big way," Hill said.
Hill called the March 8 sale results "a big win for the state of Wyoming and the state's trust beneficiaries."
Auction-generated funds will be deposited in designated beneficiary agencies that are proportioned funds through a pre-set formula. Three funds were to receive the proceeds: $26.2 million to the Common School Fund; $1.8 million to Public Buildings at the Capitol fund; and $1.47 million to the Farm Loan Fund.