Mar 13, 2011 10:57 AM by Chris Welty
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Louisiana's March sale of petroleum rights to
government-owned land and waterbottoms brought in $11.5 million as
interest in oil and natural gas exploration continued a sharp shift
to the southern parishes.
Last week, the board awarded 32 leases covering more than 15
acres. Of those, 30 were located in southern parishes.
Over the past year, the monthly sale has seen a growing trend of
more interest in southern Louisiana following an earlier rush to
the Haynesville Shale of northwestern Louisiana, which is believed
to have natural gas reserves of up to 39 trillion feet.
Industry analysts say that with oil prices bouncing around $100
per barrel, and with natural gas prices largely stuck at $4 per
thousand cubic feet and lower, drillers will be turning more of
their attention to looking for oil.
Recently, Rehan Rashid, energy analyst with FBR Capital Markets,
said he expects Haynesville drilling to be cut in half over the
next year or so with the current scenario of oil and natural gas
The energy board said that for the current fiscal year that
began July 1, the state has collected $35.9 million for government
In the latest sale, $9.4 million was paid for rights in the
Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, owned by the Louisiana Department of
Wildlife and Fisheries, and the Loggy Bayou Wildlife Management
Area, which is owned by LDWF, the Army Corps of Engineers and the
Louisiana State Land Office.
"In a tight budget year, the mineral revenues generated in the
March sale will help us maintain Louisiana's incredible natural and
wildlife resources," said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.
Money from the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in Cameron Parish
will be placed in the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge and Trust Fund
and Protection Fund. Money from the Loggy Bayou Wildlife Management
Area in Bossier Parish will go to the LDWF Conservation Fund, the
agency's primary operating fund. LDWF does not use state general