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New Mexico State Land Office touts ‘record-breaking’ year in lease sales

Land leases to the oil and gas industry generated more state income this year than the last six.

This year’s oil and gas lease sales on State Trust land surpassed the one-year record this month, for a total of $102.2 million for fiscal year 2018.

The May sale generated about $5.5 million, surpassing the past annual records of about $101.9 million set in fiscal year 2012.

One more monthly lease sale remains this fiscal year, and State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn is confident the year marked a boom for production on State Trust lands – and revenue for the SLO’s beneficiaries, mostly New Mexico public schools.

“This is fantastic news for the State Land Office and its beneficiaries,” Dunn said. “New Mexico is fast-becoming one of largest the oil-producing hotspots in the world, and it’s the children of the state who will benefit most from these record revenues.”

New Mexico public schools received about $4.7 million from the sale, while the University of New Mexico got $150,000.

Miner’s Colfax Medical Center garnered about $343,000, while $228,100 was dedicated to territorial improvements to the Rio Grande.

About 2,550 acres were offered in nine tracts in Lea, Eddy and Chaves counties.

A total of 23 bidders from seven state registered for the sale.

Fort Worth, Texas-based Chisholm Energy was the top bidder in the sealed-format sale. The company acquired about 313 acres at about $10,207 per acre, for a total cost of $3.2 million.

Dakota Resources, based in South Dakota, was the highest bidder in the open format, leasing 320 acres for about $2,500 per acre, totaling at $800,100.

“With 92 percent of this agency’s revenues derived from oil and gas, it should be crystal clear to everyone how vitally important these resources are to education in New Mexico,” Commissioner Dunn said. “With continued responsible management of State Trust Lands, the future for New Mexico’s schoolchildren looks very bright indeed.”

Earnings from oil and gas lease sales are paid into the Land Management Fund, which funds the State Land Office’s operational costs.

The agency only uses about three cents of every dollar it earns, read a State Land Office news release.

The remaining revenue is distributed to various beneficiaries directly, except public schools where the money is divided among school districts by the New Mexico legislature.

Adrian Hedden can be reached at 575-628-5516, achedden@currentargus.com or @AdrianHedden on Twitter.

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©2018 the Carlsbad Current-Argus (Carlsbad, N.M.)

Visit the Carlsbad Current-Argus (Carlsbad, N.M.) at www.currentargus.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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