BLM to auction more drilling rights on Pawnee National Grassland

Biz Journals – by Cathy Proctor

For sale to the highest bidder: Thousands of acres of federally owned mineral rights in two southern Colorado counties and in the Pawnee National Grassland near the Colorado-Wyoming border.

Grassland-area drilling would only be allowed from private parcels adjacent to federal property, however.  

The federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said Friday it will offer at its November lease auction 19 parcels totaling 10,050 acres in three counties: Weld, Huerfano and Las Animas. The Weld County parcel is near Fort Morgan.

Also on the BLM’s auction block in November are 102 parcels owned by the U.S. Forest Service covering 79,487 acres of underground mineral rights within the Pawnee National Grassland in Weld County — a rolling area of Colorado’s eastern plains that is known internationally among bird watchers for the variety of wildlife that live in the area.
In May, the BLM sold leases to 25,215 acres o f mineral rights in the Pawnee National Grassland for $30.8 million.

The grassland area is part of Colorado’s big oil boom stemming from the Niobrara rock formation and other rock layers thousands of feet underground. The state has set records for oil production in the last few years, with much of the oil coming from new Weld County wells.

The BLM said the Forest Service analyzed the grassland parcels and consented to the mineral rights lease sale. However, if an oil and gas company wants to drill on those parcels they must abide by a “no surface occupancy stipulation,” meaning while they have a right to access the underground minerals, they will not be able to disturb the surface above the mineral rights.

Typically, that means the mineral rights can be accessed using directional or horizontal drilling techniques from other surface land that doesn’t have the same restriction.
A similar restriction was imposed on grassland parcels that were leased in May.

The federally owned land that’s part of the Pawnee National Grassland is mixed in with a checkerboard of land owned by the state of Colorado and private individuals.

The quarterly competitive oil and gas lease sale is scheduled for 9 a.m., Nov. 12, at the Colorado State Office in Lakewood.

The public has 30 days to protest any of the parcels being offered in the sale. The deadline for submitting protests is Sept. 14.

More information about the parcels to be offered at the November least sale can be found here.

Colorado receives 49 percent of the proceeds of each lease sale. In fiscal year 2014, Colorado received about $169 million from royalties, rentals and bonus bid payments for all federal minerals in the state, including oil and gas.

3 thoughts on “BLM to auction more drilling rights on Pawnee National Grassland

  1. They’re going to take whatever they want, from whomever owns it, and sell it to the highest bidder.

    And it’s not going to stop until they meet some serious resistance that doesn’t include lawyers, protesters, or cry-babies.

    You’re gong to fight for what’s yours, or lose what’s yours. It’s that simple.

    1. We bought our 66 acre parcel about 15 years ago. Shortly after purchasing it we noticed many small planes flying around the general area and discovered they were surveying for minerals.
      After a bit of investigation we discovered that if anything of value was discovered underneath our land that we would have been evicted for the period of time it took to exploit the land and then when it was no longer commercially viable we would be allowed to move back to our ‘property’.
      This it turns out is actually the law. I may own the land but the Crown owns all of the mineral rights to anything of value discovered under the ground. If I dig up a lump of gold I may not even be its owner. If I had known these laws existed I never would have bought land I would have squatted somewhere instead.

  2. Which leads me to believe all the BS about “renaming the Washington Redskins” is nothing but a distraction for Native Americans, naturally set up by certain Native American “tribal leaders” who are just as corrupt as their “white man” masters.

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