Monday, November 2, 2009

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116th Lease Sale Nets Nearly $14 Million for Permanent University Fund

MIDLAND – The Board for Lease of University Lands has awarded 92 oil and gas leases covering 35,807.037 acres, receiving total bonuses of $13,957,805 in its 116th oil and gas lease sale on Oct. 28.

The funds are deposited into the Permanent University Fund and invested for the benefit of The University of Texas System and the Texas A&M University System.

The average bid per acre on the leases awarded in this sale was $389.81. The high bid of $1,006,344.36 was offered by Shaw Interests, Inc. on a 647.3-acre tract in Andrews County, Texas. The highest per-acre bid was $1,684.11 per acre on a 485.475-acre tract in Andrews County, also won by Shaw Interests, Inc.  Approximately 35,807 acres were leased; bringing the total amount of University Lands under lease to 1,071,383 acres. 

“The bonuses paid in this sale are a strong indication that the optimism of the oil and gas industry in West Texas is alive and well,” said Commissioner Jerry Patterson, chairman of the Board for Lease of University Lands. “We are very pleased with today’s sale results.”

The top five bidders were Properties, Inc. ($4,774,733), Shaw Interests, Inc. ($2,744,513), EOG Resources Inc. ($2,157,499), Windsor Permian LLC ($1,661,660) and T. Verne Dwyer ($777,313).

A University Lands official indicated that slightly more than 1,000,000 acres of University Lands are currently not leased; however, this is expected to change as rising oil and gas prices have historically led to increased leasing activity.

The Board for Lease is composed of the commissioner of the General Land Office and regents from the UT and A&M University systems. Oil and gas bonuses and royalties earned from University Lands are deposited in the Permanent University Fund, a constitutionally-created endowment that benefits institutions in the two university systems.

The board is responsible for overseeing the oil and gas activities on 2.1 million acres of Permanent University Fund lands spread across 19 West Texas counties. This land was dedicated to the UT System by the state of Texas in the latter part of the 19th century. Over the years, these activities have directly generated more than $3.65 billion held as an endowment trust for The University of Texas System and Texas A&M University System.

Information about these sales may be obtained from the office of University Lands, P.O. Box 553, Midland, Texas 79702-0553, telephone (432) 684-4404, and fax (432) 682-7456. Additional information about University Lands, including oil and gas production and well data, is available online.

About The University of Texas System
Serving the educational and health care needs of Texans for more than 125 years, The University of Texas System is one of the nation’s largest higher education systems, with nine academic campuses and six health institutions. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $11.9 billion (FY 2010) including $2.5 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. Preliminary student enrollment exceeded 202,000 in the 2008 academic year. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state's healthcare professionals annually. With more than 84,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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