Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Most federal oil and leases in Utah go unsold

Operators nominate land for drilling, but don’t always show up at auction.

First Published Aug 19 2014 01:39 pm • Last Updated Aug 21 2014 04:23 pm

A federal oil and gas lease auction was a bit of a bust Tuesday: Only two parcels fetched the minimum bid.

The Bureau of Land Management tried to auction 22 parcels totaling 39,000 acres in Tooele and Juab counties. But with a $2-an-acre minimum bid, only seven bidders were present. Two paid $33,000 for two parcels covering 2,063 acres — 5 percent of the total offered.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The sold leases are around Hop Creek, seven miles east of Nephi in the morning shadows of Mount Nebo. LT Land Group LLC of Salt Lake City bid $25-an-acre for one. International Petroleum bid $9-per-acre for the other.

Interest was not as low as the last time the BLM offered leases in its West Desert district. That August 2013 sale attracted no bids on any of 35 parcels in Tooele County.

The feds, meanwhile, have proposed leasing 69 parcels covering 72,236 acres, mostly in energy-rich Uintah and Carbon counties, at its next quarterly lease sale Nov. 18. Likely to generate more interest than any other this year, this sale involves leases in the Uinta Basin and around Helper and East Carbon.

The oil and gas industry is unhappy the BLM is not offering more acreage at this sale. Fewer than half the parcels nominated by the industry in Uintah, Duchesne, Emery and Carbon counties made the sale list, the Western Energy Alliance complained.

For example, of 60 parcels managed by the Price field office, the BLM withheld all or part of 17 due to conflicts with coal resources. All or part of another 34 because they overlap with sage grouse habitat.

"Our members continue to be harmed by these indeterminate delays and deferrals," the energy trade group wrote in comments for the sale’s environmental assessment.

Environmentalists object that some parcels being sold Nov. 18 have possible impacts on riparian areas, cultural resources and sensitive species.

They also chide industry for nominating so many parcels that are poor candidates for development, citing the failure of many parcels to get the $2-an-acre minimum bid.

story continues below
story continues below


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.