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N.D. oil and gas leases auctioned

DICKINSON, N.D. — The Bureau of Land Management auctioned oil and gas leases on federal land totaling about $2.9 million in three southwest North Dakota counties.

Companies bought leases for 22 parcels in Billings, Golden Valley and Slope counties, said bureau spokeswoman Kristen Lenhardt.

Houston-based Marathon Oil Co. purchased a majority of the leases on roughly 8,560 acres in North Dakota that will be used for gas and oil development.

The bureau sold about $4.5 million in leases Wednesday — 14,620 acres in all.

Leases are awarded for 10 years and as long as there is production in paying quantities after that time. The bureau analyzes potential environmental effects caused by oil and gas development before lease sales, according to a news release.

Once a company proposes exploration or development on a federal lease, further environmental analysis is conducted to limit impacts under the National Environmental Policy Act, the bureau said.

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