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The oil and gas lease sale that was supposed to be held on Wednesday and Thursday has been postponed without explanation and without fanfare, according to a brief notice posted on the Bureau of Land Management website.
“The oil and gas lease sale scheduled for May 20-21, 2020 has been postponed,” the blm.gov notice read in its entirety.
The federal lease sale was supposed to auction off 95 parcels covering more than 45,000 acres in New Mexico and Texas, in and around the U.S. shale’s claim to fame, the Permian basin.
The abrupt postponement for the federal lease sale is highly unusual, and has likely caused prospective bidders consternation because buyers must plan ahead to get cash around to pay for any winning bids on the same day.
The BLM also has multiple federal lease sales scheduled for June, which as of now are still listed as active, including in Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado, and Mississippi. These auctions will all go through EnergyNet.com.
As for the reason for the postponement, EnergyNet.com referred Oilprice.com to the BLM.
“They’re just postponed,” JulieAnn Serrano, Lease Sale Supervisor and Supervisory Land Law Examiner for the Bureau of Land Management’s New Mexico State Office told Oilprice.com when asked for a reason for the postponement.
The lease sale—like every oil and gas lease sale in the United States—has drawn criticism from environmental groups who have alleged, among other things, that the BLM denied a request to suspend the comment period during the coronavirus pandemic.
Texas may be the largest oil producing state in America, but New Mexico comes in at a not-too-shabby third place. Raking in $3.1 billion in oil and gas revenues in 2019, New Mexico’s oil and gas industry provides about one-third of all public school funds in the state—about $1.4 billion, according to the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.