The first sale of drilling rights on public lands under President Biden has brought bids totaling more than $22 million.
The sale secured the rights on about 110 square miles of public lands in the western US on Thursday.
The oil and gas produced from the leases will be subject to a royalty rate of 18.75%. That’s up from 12.5% and the first royalty increase since the 1920s.
Leases on about 90 square miles went unsold in the US Bureau Land Management online auctions.
HOW DO OIL AND GAS LEASES WORK?
About 200 square miles of federal lands had been offered for lease in eight western states.
Companies paid more than $13 million for parcels totaling about 105 square miles in Wyoming.
The auctions come as federal officials try to balance efforts to fight climate change against pressure to bring down high gas prices.
BIDEN ADMINISTRATION DELAYS OIL AND GAS LEASE SALES AGAIN AMID ENVIRONMENTAL PROTEST
Biden faces calls from fellow Democrats to do more to curb fossil fuel emissions that they say are heating the planet, even as he’s being pushed by Republicans to expand US crude production.
Oil production increased in the US in recent months, but it’s still well below pre-pandemic levels.
ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS SUE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION OVER FIRST ONSHORE OIL AND GAS LEASE SALE
Biden suspended new leasing just a week after taking office in January 2021. A federal judge in Louisiana ordered the sales to resume, saying Interior officials had offered no “rational explanation” for canceling them.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.