The Bureau of Land Management, under the Department of the Interior, held a two-day auction on 142 parcels of land in New Mexico at the beginning of September. The results from this single sale has surpassed their sales numbers from all transactions in 2017 combined. The land lease sale of nearly US $1 billion will provide ample land to further boost the already growing oil production in the state.
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said, “We can ensure reliable, safe, abundant and affordable energy for all Americans, and New Mexico is a centerpiece of our all-of the-above energy future.” The area of New Mexico he is referring to are in the counties of Eddy, Lea and Chaves. These counties sit between the West Texas Permian Basin and the Delaware Basin in southeastern New Mexico. The price per acre to access the unexplored shale on the New Mexico side went for a record price of $95,001/ acre. According to R. T. Dukes, Lower 48 upstream research director at Wood Mackenzie Ltd. “The Permian is the center of the oil universe when it comes to investment right now and just because of a few pipeline constraints that’s not going to change.”
The onshore leasing of Federal lands is part of the Trump Administration’s America-First Energy Plan and has tasked the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to help facilitate the process. Secretary Zinke stated, “The America-First Energy Plan is an all-of-the-above plan that includes oil and gas, coal, strategic minerals and renewable sources such as wind, geothermal and solar which can be developed on public lands.” The BLM has scheduled another four oil and gas lease sales through the end of this year in Alaska, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Montana.