BLM Now Offering Online Auctions

by Elizabeth Alford on October 17, 2016

Investors interested in garnering oil and gas leases on federal lands, now have an easier, online option.

Related: Mineral Auction for Public Land Draws Protest

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is moving forward with modernizing their oil and gas program by utilizing online auctions. The decision comes after a successful 2009 test online auction in Colorado as a way for the agency to streamline operations and save money.

In 2015, Congress gave the BLM authority to conduct online sales through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which amended the Mineral Leasing Act to allow the BLM allowing for both internet-based an oral auctions.

In a press release, the BLM estimates that “internet-based auctions could increase aggregate lease sale revenues by about $2 million a year. The BLM believes that online sales have the potential to generate greater competition by making participation easier, which has the potential to increase bonus bids.”

Official are also hoping that online auctions will relieve some of the tension seen in recent months as groups opposed to fossil fuel development try to disrupt proceedings. In November, dozens of protestors attempted to block a mineral auction in Lakewood Colorado where the BLM was auctioning oil and gas rights on 90,000 acres of Colorado’s public land.

The first online auction took place in September and included about 4,214 acres in Mississippi and Kentucky. The BLM said that the proceeds of $80,223.50 will be split between the U.S. Treasury and the state where the lease is located.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land and generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities on those lands in 2015.


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