Two bidders disrupt BLM lease sale in Utah

Nick Snow
Washington Editor
WASHINGTON, DC, Dec. 23 -- US Bureau of Land Management special agents detained two registered bidders after a Dec. 19 oil and gas lease sale in Utah was delayed briefly.

The sale was completed. Agents are investigating and coordinating with the US Attorney's office in Salt Lake City to determine whether the bidders broke federal laws by apparently trying to impede the bidding process, the Utah BLM office said in a statement.

Some groups had called for the sale's cancellation, saying the lease sale included tracts in and near areas that the groups said were previously protected.

One of the detained individuals, Tim DeChristopher, a University of Utah economics student and environmental activist, submitted $1.8 million of bogus bids.

"I don't want to have to look back at 2008 and know that there was still a slight chance that we could have done something to make a difference, and I didn't have that chance," he told the Salt Lake Tribune.

DeChristopher apparently showed up for the lease sale and received a bidding paddle after showing his driver's license, according to other media reports.

Federal regulations say bidding for oil and gas leases is open to any US citizen over 21, but successful bidders must accept and pay for what they acquire, a spokesman in BLM's Washington headquarters said.

A spokeswoman for the US Attorney's office in Salt Lake City confirmed that the matter has been brought to its attention.

"We are getting investigative reports from the BLM special agents that we will look at and determine if there were violations of federal law," she told OGJ on Dec. 23. "We have been in close contact and are discussing the situation. The process should take a couple of weeks."

Utah's BLM office said 116 of the 131 offered parcels were sold, totaling 148,598 acres of federal land in Carbon, Duchesne, Emery, Garfield, Grand, San Juan, and Uintah counties. Revenues totaled more than $7.4 million, including $7.2 million in bonus bids, $222,951 in rental fees and $16,240 in administrative fees, it indicated.

Enduring Resources LLC of Denver submitted the highest total bid per acre ($270) and per tract ($592,640) on Parcel 137 containing nearly 2.2 million acres in the Vernal area, the Utah BLM office said.

Meanwhile, 58 US House Democrats sent a letter on Dec. 22 to President-elect Barack H. Obama's transition team urging the new administration to either halt leasing of federal land in Utah that have proposed for wilderness designation or, in cases where leases have been issued already, to cancel them and refund what bidders have paid.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

Related Articles

Buru awarded onshore Canning licenses

07/06/2015 Buru Energy Ltd., Perth, and Mitsubish Corp. have been granted two production licenses for Ungani oil field in the onshore Canning basin of Western...

Cenovus sells royalty business for $3.3 billion

07/06/2015 Cenovus Energy Inc., Calgary, inked an agreement to sell its wholly owned subsidiary Heritage Royalty LP to Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan for gros...

CERI: Energy, operational efficiencies possible in Canadian oil, gas

07/06/2015 Measures can be taken by operators in the expanding resource-intensive Canadian oil and gas sector to improve both energy efficiency and operationa...

AGL Energy to scale back upstream gas operations

07/06/2015

Gas retailer AGL Energy Ltd., Sydney, says it will exit the oil business and massively scaling back its upstream gas operations.

Macondo settlement seen ‘positive’ for BP

07/06/2015 BP Exploration & Production Inc.’s recent agreement to settle federal and state claims related to the 2010 Macondo blowout and spill improves t...

Court to EPA: Costs matter

07/06/2015 Oil and gas groups did not respond immediately when the US Supreme Court ruled on June 29 that the US Environmental Protection Agency acted unreaso...

Innovation addresses US environmental regulations; more needed

07/06/2015 Technology spawned the recent boom in US oil and gas production which in turn led to new regulations that keep the environment and people safe.

Poor BIA management has hindered tribal energy development, GAO says

07/06/2015 The US Bureau of Indian Affairs does not have data it needs to verify ownership of some Indian oil and gas resources, easily identify resources ava...

US House committee leaders send letters to Plains, PHMSA about leak

07/06/2015 US House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders from both parties asked Plains Pipeline LP and the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Admini...
White Papers

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

On Demand

OGJ's Midyear Forecast 2015

Fri, Jul 10, 2015

This webcast is to be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and Senior Economic Editor Conglin Xu.  They will summarize the Midyear Forecast projections in key categories, note important changes from January’s forecasts, and examine reasons for the adjustments.

register:WEBCAST


Predictive Analytics in your digital oilfield - Optimize Production Yield and Reduce Operational Costs

Tue, Jul 7, 2015

Putting predictive analytics to work in your oilfield can help you anticipate failures, plan and schedule work in advance, eliminate emergency work and catastrophic failures, and at the same time you can optimize working capital and improve resource utilization.  When you apply analytic capabilities to critical production assets it is possible to reduce non-productive time and increase your yield.

Learn how IBM's analytics capabilities can be applied to critical production assets with the goal of reducing non-productive time, increasing yield and reducing operations costs.

register:WEBCAST


Cognitive Solutions for Upstream Oil and Gas

Fri, Jun 12, 2015

The oil & gas sector is under pressure on all sides. Reserves are limited and it’s becoming increasingly expensive to find and extract new resources. Margins are already being squeezed in an industry where one wrong decision can cost millions. Analyzing data used in energy exploration can save millions of dollars as we develop ways to predict where and how to extract the world’s massive energy reserves.

This session with IBM Subject Matter Experts will discuss how IBM Cognitive Solutions contribute to the oil and gas industry using predictive analytics and cognitive computing, as well as real time streaming for exploration and drilling.

register:WEBCAST


The Alternative Fuel Movement: Four Need-to-Know Excise Tax Complexities

Thu, Jun 4, 2015

Discussion on how to approach, and ultimately embrace, the alternative fuel market by pulling back the veil on excise tax complexities. Taxes may be an aggravating part of daily operations, but their accuracy is crucial in your path towards business success.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected