U.S. nabs $233 million in oil, gas leases

Dec. 19, 2012 at 9:13 AM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Interior said more than $200 million was generated from onshore oil and natural gas leases on public lands this year.

The department's Bureau of Land Management generated $233 million through the sale of 1,707 parcels totaling 1.4 million acres in onshore oil and gas leases in 2012. The BLM said it put 2,315 parcels on the auction block this year, which is more than 40 percent of the 2010 total.

The BLM said 33 lease sales for onshore oil and natural gas acreage on public lands are scheduled for next year. Most of those sales are for acreage on either coast and in Alaska.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the sales were a sign of U.S. President Barack Obama's commitment to a comprehensive energy policy that includes conventional and renewable energy resources.

"Domestic oil and gas production continues to increase every year of this Administration while imported foreign oil continues to decrease, which is good for the economy, good for jobs, and good for America," Salazar said in a statement.

The BLM was able to get, on average, $210 per onshore acre during the last three years. From 1988, the average price paid per acre was $55.

An offshore lease sale in November attracted more than $133 million in bids.

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