Aug. 23–The New Mexico State Land Office is expecting to make $1 billion in revenue this year from leases of State Trust land to the oil and gas industry.
The prediction comes following the August lease sale, which netted about $12 million for 25 tracts or 6,082 acres in Eddy and Lea counties, per a news release from the State Land Office.
Santa Fe-based Federal Abstract was the high bidder in both the sealed and online portions of the sale, acquiring 2,922 acres for about $10 million, for an average price per acre of $3,540.
More: Carlsbad residents, oil and gas officials seek solutions to extraction fears
Thirty-one bidders from six states participated in the sale, read the release, with eight generating $12.1 million in revenue.
Schools received $8.2 million from the proceeds with the University of New Mexico garnering $3.2 million.
UNM was a particularly important beneficiary this month, said New Mexico State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, as four sports were cut from the school’s athletic program due to budget shortfalls, and Title IX compliance issues.
More: Carlsbad Oil and gas summit to feature industry leaders, political candidates
Men’s soccer was cut, along with men’s and women’s skiing and women’s beach volleyball.
“It is a shame that these programs were terminated,” Dunn said. “I wanted to show my support for the student-athletes who comprise the men’s soccer, men’s and women’s skiing and women’s beach volleyball teams.
“With the money we’re directing to the university, I would hope they can find a way to fund these programs.”
New Mexico Miner’s Hospital received $156,160.
The New Mexico Military Institute got $98,843, while state charitable, penal and reform systems gained $467,382 from the sale.
More: Rural communities could be at risk during oil and gas boom, debate over air quality ensues
New Mexico State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn touted the ongoing growth of oil and gas developments in southeast New Mexico as a boon for state revenue from the monthly sales.
He said the increased revenue mostly benefits the children of New Mexico.
“We’ve had two very successful sales, royalties are continuing to increase, and with oil production on trust lands approaching seven million barrels per month we are on course to generate $1 billion in revenues this year,” Dunn said.
More: Pearce talks tourism, balance with oil and gas in Carlsbad
“It’s a testament to the tireless efforts of everyone at the agency who continue to work on behalf of New Mexico’s schoolchildren and all of our beneficiaries.”
Dunn is not seeking reelection to the post this year, and called upon the next land commissioner to continue to capitalize on the growth in extraction operations.
More: BLM delays sale of land for oil drilling near Carlsbad Caverns, amid protests
He said the 2019 fiscal year could see the State’s Land Grant Permanent Fund surpass $20 billion, if State Trust land is properly managed.
“While the signs are pointing toward a banner financial year for us, there is a caveat,” Dunn said. “So much will depend on who the next land commissioner is, and what their policy on generating funds for this agency’s beneficiaries is.”
Adrian Hedden can be reached at 575-628-5516, email@example.com or @AdrianHedden on Twitter.
(c)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.