Energy Revolution Unleashed: Interior Shatters Previous Records with $1.1 Billion in 2018 Oil and Gas Lease Sales

Last edited 09/29/2021

$500 million of that revenue has gone back to states, providing support to key institutions like hospitals and public schools


HOBBS, N.M. – Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt today announced that Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM) state offices generated $1.1 billion from oil and gas lease sales in calendar year 2018, an amount nearly equal to the BLM’s budget for Fiscal Year 2018, and the highest-grossing year on record, nearly tripling what had been the agency’s highest year ever in 2008, which generated approximately $408 million. Bonus bids from the 28 oil and gas lease sales held in calendar year 2018 came to $1,151,109,064 in preliminary figures released today by the BLM. Among these, a total of 1,412 parcels, covering almost 1.5 million acres, were leased.

“Responsible production of domestic energy keeps energy prices low for American families and businesses, reduces our dependence on foreign oil, creates American jobs, and generates billions of dollars in revenue to the Federal Treasury,” said Acting Secretary of the Interior Bernhardt. “The President’s visionary address last night has set the stage for this Administration’s second act on American energy dominance. With a bold, new approach to energy development, and a President who recognizes that conventional wisdom is meant to be challenged, we are starting to see what a great America looks like.”

“This was a historic year for oil and gas, and clearly illustrates what is possible when public lands are put to work using innovation, best science, and best practices,” said Brian Steed, BLM Deputy Director for Policy and Programs. “Our sound energy policy continues to ensure reliable, safe, abundant, and affordable energy for all Americans, without putting unnecessary burdens on industry. In fact, this policy generated nearly as much revenue as the BLM’s $1.1 billion budget for 2018.”

BLM New Mexico had the largest lease sale of 2018, generating approximately $972 million in bonus bids for 142 parcels. The two-day lease sale, held in September, brought in more revenue than all BLM oil and gas lease sales in 2017 combined and broke all previous records. A bonus bid is a one-time payment in exchange for exclusive access to explore for hydrocarbons on a parcel and grants an exclusive lease for a set period of time.

Individual states also benefit from the BLM’s lease sales. Forty-eight percent of lease sale revenue goes to the state while the rest goes to the U.S. Treasury. The state also receives half of the revenue from royalties if oil and gas is developed on the lease.

By statute, the BLM is required to offer quarterly oil and gas leases sales of available Federal lands. BLM state offices conduct lease sales quarterly when parcels are available for lease. These lease sales represent parcels that cleared environmental review and public comment. The BLM issues both competitive and noncompetitive leases for a 10-year period. The leases are a contract to explore and develop any potential oil and gas. The leases may earn an extension if the lessee establishes production, otherwise they pay annual rentals.

The BLM is a key contributor to the Trump Administration's America-First Energy Plan, which is an all-of-the-above plan that includes oil and gas, coal, strategic minerals, and renewable sources such as wind, geothermal, and solar – all of which can be produced on public lands. 

In 2017, oil and gas lease sales generated $358 million. Oil and gas development on BLM-managed lands supported 284,000 jobs in fiscal year 2017 and contributed $59.6 billion in output to the U.S. economy.

In 2019, the BLM is scheduled to hold 28 oil and gas lease sales.


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