BLM-Utah oil and gas lease netted more than $1.5 million amidst protest

The Bureau of Land Management Utah Office conducted an online auction of quarterly oil and gas lease sales resulting in competitive bids for 51,482.940 acres with a net sale of more than $1.5 million amidst protest. (Photo: Patrick Fitz / KUTV)

(KUTV) -- The Bureau of Land Management Utah Office conducted an online auction of quarterly oil and gas lease sales resulting in competitive bids for 51,482.940 acres with a net sale of more than $1.5 million amidst protest.

Oil and gas leases sales support domestic energy production and American energy independence, but others claim such sales defile public lands.

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BLM-Utah conducted the lease sale Tuesday online via www.energynet.com under the authority granted by Congress in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act and code of federal regulations,

Lasrich Lane, of Sandy, Utah, submitted the highest total bid per acre $93.00 for parcel 34 in the Monticello Field office area, according to a press release.

Context Energy Co. LLC, of Denver, Colo., submitted the highest total bid per parcel $145,600.00 for parcel 44, also located in the Monticello field office area, the release stated.

Each parcel had its own bidding period that lasted two hours, and the public could observe the sale in real-time by logging on to the website. Oil and gas leases are awarded for a term of 10 years and as long thereafter as there is a production of oil and gas in paying quantities.

The federal government receives a royalty of 12.5% of the value of production. Each state government receives a 25% minimum share of the bonus bid and the royalty revenue from each lease issued in that state.

The figurative price of natural resource development is too high for some conservationists, such as tribal members and community groups who spoke out in opposition to the sales with a protest at the BLM state office.

The protest during the online sales advocated for the continued preservation of parcels of land adjacent to Utah’s Bears Ears, Hovenweep, and canyons of the ancient national monuments.

Protestors encouraged public participation in four public meetings to receive scoping comments on the land-use planning in the region of Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante.

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