Montana DNRC reports more than $1 million from recent oil and gas lease sales

csimt 2022, In the News, Land Board

Posted at 2:45 PM, Mar 22, 2022
and last updated 2:45 PM, Mar 22, 2022

HELENA — The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) reports significant revenue from recent oil and gas lease sales on state trust lands, netting $1,187,194 from the first quarter of 2022.

“Ramping up American-made energy in Montana is one of many ways to reduce our reliance on foreign energy sources,” Gov. Greg Gianforte said. “Additionally, proceeds from these oil and gas lease sales will benefit our schools, ensuring our kids have access to the best education possible.”

Approved by the State Board of Land Commissioners Monday morning, this sale represents the most revenue from a sale since 2014. The state also reports it as being the seventh-highest average bid price per acre in the history of oil and gas lease sales on state trust lands.

The first quarter sale included 36 tracts in Daniels, Phillips, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Toole and Valley counties.

The state attributes the record-setting sale and number of bids to holding the lease sale in an online auction format through EnergyNet. This is the second lease sale to be held online.

“Our Trust Lands Management Division took to heart Governor Gianforte’s goal to reduce red tape across state government. Moving sales to an online format allows more bidders to participate in auctions, increasing competition and bid amounts,” DNRC Director Amanda Kaster said.

Funds generated by leases on state trust lands contribute to the education fund for the state. Oil and gas leases are comprised of a set annual leasing fee per acre, plus a one-time competitive bid, known as the bonus amount. If the leases are developed and produce oil, they generate additional royalty revenues.

DNRC manages state trust lands, including the auction of oil and gas leases. The next oil and gas lease sale is taking place in June and has 179 nominated tracts.

The State Board of Land Commissioners is comprised of Governor Greg Gianforte, State Superintendent Elsie Arntzen, Attorney General Austin Knudsen, Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen and State Auditor Troy Downing.