By New Mexico Business Weekly

The Bureau of Land Management earned $18.6 million from the sale of 31 leases for oil and gas production in New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma at an auction in Santa Fe Jan. 19.

The leases covered 14 parcels in New Mexico that brought in about $5 million, 12 in Texas that generated about $11.2 million, and five in Oklahoma for $2.2 million.

BLM earnings include bonus bids, administrative fees and first-year rentals.

A total of 35 bidders registered for the auction. The highest bid per parcel and per acre was $10.7 million from XTO Energy Inc., for a lease in Tarrant County, Texas. XTO paid $6,600 per acre for 1,618 acres.

Leases are awarded for 10 years, and as long thereafter as there is production in paying quantities. The federal government receives 12.5 percent royalties on production from those leases.

Fifty-two percent of the earnings from federal lease sales is returned to the U.S. government. The other 48 percent goes to the state where the mineral lease occurs. As a result, New Mexico will receive $2.437 million from the latest auction.

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