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U.S. Postpones More Oil & Gas Lease Sales

After abruptly postponing a lease sale in New Mexico last month, the Trump Administration has postponed additional oil and gas lease sales in Nevada and Mississippi, the Bureau of Land Management’s online auction website showed.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of the Department of the Interior is postponing a lease sale of seven parcels covering 10,459 acres in Nevada, which was originally slated to take place on June 9. The BLM has also postponed the lease sale of two parcels covering 88 acres in Mississippi which had to be auctioned on June 18. 

The latest postponements in federal oil and gas lease sales come after BLM postponed in May a lease sale in New Mexico of 95 parcels totaling 45,446 acres in Chaves, Eddy, and Lea counties in New Mexico; and Wise County in Texas.

The oil and gas lease sale in the state home to the westernmost part of the Permian basin would have been the first auction for drilling on federal land since U.S. benchmark prices flipped negative in April a day before the expiry of the May futures contract of WTI Crude.

In March, after oil prices crashed, the Administration proceeded with lease sales in four Western states: Montana, Nevada, Wyoming, and Colorado, despite calls for immediate suspension of oil and gas drilling lease sales on federal land amid slumping prices. The lease sales have also 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.

But since the end of March, the Administration has postponed lease sales in New Mexico, Nevada, and Mississippi.

According to the EnergyNet website, there are still two lease sales planned for June that have not yet been postponed. One is a federal lease sale of 135 parcels covering 169,750 acres in Wyoming on June 23-24, and a lease sale of 15 parcels covering 4,851 acres in Colorado on June 25.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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