One-third of all parcels offered at a Bureau of Land Management oil and gas auction Thursday are in the Little Snake Resource Area.
The BLM offered 91 parcels for auction. Thirty-one parcels totaling 24,055 acres are in the Little Snake Resource Area, which covers most of Moffat and Routt counties.
"It's just coincidence," BLM spokesman Steven Hall said when asked why so many of the parcels were in the Little Snake Resource Area.
Oil and gas companies nominate the parcels on which they want to bid during the auction.
The Little Snake Field Office is revising its resource management plan.
Some grounds that could receive special management designations were withheld from the sale, Hall said.
"Parcels in controversial areas were not brought forward," he said.
Hall wouldn't specify which areas were withheld, but none of the parcels offered for auction was in an area that has been nominated by environmental groups or residents to receive designations of wilderness or area of critical environmental concern.
Most Little Snake Resource Area parcels were in areas where natural gas development is occurring. These areas included the Powder Wash and Hiawatha fields along the state border and the Great Divide area in central Moffat County.
The auction netted the BLM more than $3.2 million. About half that money will return to Colorado.
Other large blocks of parcels in the state were near Yuma and La Junta.
The BLM holds oil and gas auctions on a quarterly basis. The 1987 Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act authorizes leasing of federal oil and gas resources. It amended the Mineral Leasing Act to require each BLM state office to conduct oil and gas lease sales on at least a quarterly basis.
On Thursday, the State Land Board will hold an oil and gas auction. Nine parcels totaling 1,800 acres will be offered in Moffat County at that auction.
Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.