This week the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) a sub-agency of the Department of the Interior responsible for federal onshore oil and gas resources, held an oil and gas lease sale in the state of Utah. The competitive auction offered 24 individual leases made up of over 13,000 acres of federal land in the state. This was the fourth oil and gas lease sale held in Utah this year. Much like Utah’s October oil and gas lease sale, the sale results were underwhelming.
While the sale offered 24 leases for oil and gas development, only 16 of the available parcels received bids from the oil and gas industry. Of the 16 parcels that were leased, seven parcels, or 44 percent, sold for under $10 per acre. Unfortunately for taxpayers, five parcels were leased for just $2 per acre – the legal minimum the BLM can accept per acre.
In total, the sale generated just $170,000 in high bids for 9,500 acres of federal lands leased. High bids averaged less than $18 per acre, roughly half the average bid taxpayers have received per acre over the last two years in Utah. This sale caps off a lackluster year for federal oil and gas lease sales in the state of Utah.
The BLM will be holding four additional lease sales in other western states through the end of the year. TCS will continue to track these BLM lease sales and analyze the results.