New Mexico Public Schools Win Big With Latest Oil and Gas Lease Sale



February 21, 2019

New Mexico public schools and a handful of other public institutions will receive more than $35 million from the latest oil and gas lease sale held by the State Land Office, according to a press release from the agency.

When the bids were tallied, the total came to $35.3 million. This makes it the second highest single-month yield in the agency’s history after November 2018, when the monthly lease sale brought in $43 million.

Public schools will receive more than 98.7% of the revenue from the sale, with the remaining 1.3% split between New Mexico State University, New Mexico Military Institute, and others.

In the press release announcing the sale, State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard said, “The Land Office is open for business, and our primary business is education funding. We are continuing to see the benefits in the Permian Basin, where we share the largest continuous source of oil with neighboring Texas. New Mexico has exceptional resources, and as a result our public schools today have $34 million more coming their way.”

As the resources from the plots are developed, New Mexico will receive more revenue from royalties, severance taxes, and others. Revenue generated from economic activity on state land, such as oil and gas development, agriculture, and mining are an important source of education funding.

In all, $723,000 was distributed to state land beneficiaries in fiscal year 2017, of which 85% went to public schools. Other beneficiaries include colleges and universities, hospitals, and water conservation projects.

The State Land Office reported that 41 tracts in Chaves, Lea, and Eddy counties totaling 8,920 acres were offered in the most recent lease sale. Eight were withdrawn. The total average price per-acre was $3,961.

The beneficiary earnings from the sale are as follows:

  • $34,826,341 – Public schools
  • $376,320 – Public buildings
  • $56,000 – New Mexico Military Institute
  • $32,160 – New Mexico State University
  • $8,600 – Charitable & Penal Reform