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As the 2018 legislative session convenes, Gov. Susana Martinez and lawmakers are loosening their belts and bellying up to the trough of “new” money. Contrarily, the State Land Office is making money – and a lot of it.

The State Land Office on Tuesday collected more than $17 million from January’s oil and gas lease sale, bringing fiscal year earnings from oil and gas lease sales to $91.5 million.

Tuesday’s sale also bumped fiscal year earnings-to-date to nearly $122 million, just shy of the all-time record of $123 million set in fiscal year 2012.

“Every month, five million barrels of oil are produced on State Trust Lands,” said State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn. “These record-setting trends in the oil patch mean more money will flow to public schools, universities, hospitals, and other institutions and programs supported by the agency.”

Beneficiaries of Tuesday’s lease sale and their respective earnings include:

• Public schools: $15,722,717
• Eastern New Mexico University: $71,700
• New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute: $859,750
• New Mexico State University: $555,450
• New Mexico School for the Deaf: $80,250
• New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired: $80,250

Dunn offered 23 tracts covering 5,635 acres of State Trust Lands in Chaves and Lea counties. This month, 40 bidders from six states and Canada registered.

Ameredev II of Austin, Texas, was the winning sealed bidder, paying $6.432 million for 320 acres in Lea County. Petrogulf Corporation of Denver, Colo., was the winning active bidder, paying $1,100,050 for 80 acres, also in Lea County.