British Columbia (BC) collected more than C$98 million in bonus bids in this month's natural gas and oil lease sale, officials said Thursday. For the year the province said bids have totaled C$760 million.

The sale on Wednesday offered 81 parcels covering 34,349 hectares in northeast British Columbia, where the prospective Horn River and Montney shales are located. The auction resulted in 68 parcels being sold covering 31,052 hectares. The average price per hectare in the latest sale was about C$3,160.

"This sale, like others this year, is larger than predicted and is more evidence of the confidence the international investment community has in British Columbia's natural gas and petroleum resources," said Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Bill Bennett. "This confidence, matched with our rich resources, is powering our economic recovery, creating good jobs for families and revenues for government."

Parcels in the sale included:

The next BC auction is scheduled for Sept. 22, when the province will offer 71 parcels covering 35,197 hectares.

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