The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) received bonus oil and natural gas bids totaling $4.068 million for 26 parcels in Utah that cover 37,414 acres in the latest quarterly lease sale, officials reported Tuesday.
BLM Utah officials said all the offered parcels were sold, and in addition to the bonus bids, the sale netted $56,134 in rental fees and $3,900 in administrative fees for a total of $4.128 million in receipts, which are shared with the state and counties where the leased lands are located.
The industry-designated parcels were mostly in the far southeast corner of the state near BLM's Moab and Monticello, UT, offices. A Salt Lake City-based BLM spokesperson said some other parcels on U.S. Forest Service lands in central Utah were deferred after previously being designated to be part of this sale.
Denver-based Percheron Energy LLC submitted the highest total bid per acre ($340) for Parcel 129 located in the BLM-Utah Canyon Country District. Afton, WY-based Land Professionals Inc. submitted the highest total bid/parcel ($614,600) for Parcel 207 located in the BLM-Utah Color Country District.
"All leases are issued with conditions on oil/gas activities to protect the environment," the BLM spokesperson said. "The protections can include limits on when drilling can occur or restrictions on surface occupancy." Once an exploration or development plan is submitted for a lease, further environmental analysis is required.
BLM's Utah office conducts oil and gas lease sales quarterly, and the available parcels are either nominated or requested by the industry or another member of the general public.
According to BLM data, the number of Utah leases issued over the last three years has been historically low. While a record 617 leases were issued in the state in 2005, only 79 were issued in 2010, 28 in 2011 and 40 in 2012.