AUSTIN — Oil and gas exploration from West Texas' Permanent School Fund lands is earning the school kids of Texas more than ever in 2011.
Private oil and gas companies today paid $9.3 million just for the right to explore on land owned by the state's Permanent School Fund, which helps pay for the state's share of K-12 education.
The companies competitively bid for the right to look for oil and gas on 6,971 acres. Today's quarterly lease sale results bring the year's record total to $133.5 million.
"West Texas oil and gas is booming and school kids across the state will see the benefits," Patterson said. "We've earned $133.5 million now, and will earn even more when wells are drilled and production begins."
Patterson said efforts by the federal government to list the sand dune lizard as an endangered species could threaten to dry up this revenue stream for public education in Texas. "The Permian Basin is the top producing area in the country right now," Patterson said. "Anything that restricts the exploration and production of oil and gas from this area could cost Texas public education hundreds of millions of dollars."
In the quarterly lease sales held by the General Land Office, oil and gas firms submit sealed bids for the right to drill for hydrocarbons on Permanent School Fund lands. The Permanent School Fund will also earn 20 to 25 percent royalties on any oil or gas produced on the leases.
For a detailed look at today's record Permanent School Fund oil and gas lease sale, visit http://www.glo.texas.gov/what-we-do/energy-and-minerals/oil_gas/sealed-bid-sales/past/index.html.