Lacklustre December land rights sale caps off a slight return to form in 2017

A natural gas rig in Northern B.C. File photo

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Though December’s petroleum land rights sale raised less than $1 million, this year saw a slight resurgence in the amount of money spent by oil and gas companies in acquiring land rights in B.C.

In last Wednesday’s auction, ten drilling licenses were sold by the provincial government, netting just under $908,000. In total, 5,665 hectares of land rights were purchased, out of the 24 parcels of land covering 19,100 hectares that were up for bid. The highest price paid last month was just under $434,000 for a 1,000-hectare drilling license, which works out to $417.88 per hectare.

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Despite the small amount of money headed to provincial coffers after last month’s auction, 2017 ended up marking a turnaround for land rights auctions, as the province made a total of $173.2 million from its petroleum rights auctions. While not as high as the $382 million in 2014, this year’s total is far higher than in the last two years, which saw a combined total of just $33.4 million.

Nearly half of this year’s amount came in during July’s sale when Scott Lease and Land Ltd. picked up a 5,500-hectare drilling license for $77 million.

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