The Biden administration held its first oil and gas lease sale after a court order forced them to lift a moratorium on new lease sales. The sale was in the Gulf of Mexico and generated $191 million with 33 companies vying to purchase 308 tracts.
Exxon Mobile bought about one-third of the acreage in shallow areas that will be well-suited to carbon sequestration.
The sale does not mean oil and gas lease sales are really moving yet, however. North Dakota is not likely to have any lease sales in 2021. While the Biden administration has said it will comply with the court order requiring them to resume sales, it has been slow-walking the process in the region.
Neither the state's first or second-quarter sales, which were put in the queue by the previous administration, have been scheduled yet. Instead, the Montana-Dakota's office of the Bureau of Land Management has asked for public feedback on the parcels that were in the cancelled first and second-quarter sales.
A media release from the Montana-Dakota office said they would then schedule another review after that, before finally posting a notice of competitive lease sale later this year.
That suggests it is unlikely there will be any oil and gas lease sales in the region in 2021, and in fact, that is what state officials have said they were told.