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State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn announced today that public schools and a handful of other State Trust Land beneficiaries can expect an extra $18 million in their coffers next month.

The windfall comes after the State Land Office’s March 21 oil and gas lease sale earned $18,556,402 – the second-highest-earning lease sale in State Land Office history. Dunn offered 56 tracts covering 16,812.52 acres in Lea, Roosevelt and Chaves Counties within the Permian and Tatum Basins.

The beneficiaries of the leased tracts include public schools, the University of New Mexico, the New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the New Mexico School for the Deaf, the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute, Rio Grande improvements, and water reservoirs.
Tuesday’s earnings are expected to be distributed in April, with public schools receiving the majority, or $14,252,802.

The monthly lease sales, which are held on the third Tuesday of every month, are conducted online with a sealed portion and an active bidding portion. This month, sealed bids generated $9,194,102 and active bids brought in $9,362,300.

OneEnergy Partners Operating, LLC, was the winning sealed bidder, paying $2,363,175 for 315.09 acres in Lea County. Marathon Oil Permian was the winning active bidder, paying $3,500,100 for 315.59 acres in Lea County.

The State Land Office is a self-funded agency. Renewable revenues such as lease payments, rights-of-way, permits, and interest flow into the Land Maintenance Fund, which covers the agency’s operating expenses, with the balance distributed monthly to the beneficiaries.

Oil and gas leases are on a five-year term and are held by production. Royalties earned from oil, gas, and mineral production on State Trust Lands are paid into the Land Grant Permanent Fund, which yields hundreds of millions of dollars for the trust beneficiaries.

“The State Land Office is having a record year, which is good news for public education,” said Dunn. “Sweeping budget cuts are expected across the board, but the Land Office is in a strong position to support children and teachers across the state.”

The State Land Office’s fiscal year 2017 revenue estimate was $60,189,844, but year to date earnings far exceed that. The end of the third quarter shows fiscal year revenues in excess of $81 million.