Utah bidders snap up drilling rights

Utah bidders snap up drilling rights

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Bidders snapped up more than 34,000 acres of federal leases in Utah for oil and gas drilling.

The Bureau of Land Management held the quarterly auction Tuesday in Salt Lake City.

Speculators, brokers, drillers and oil companies paid more than $1 million for the drilling rights.

The government says Douglas Chasel of Salt Lake City paid the most for a lease -- $296,000 for a 320-acre parcel in the Vernal area.

In all, bidders snapped up 27 lease-parcels in the Fillmore, Moab, Price and Vernal regions.

BLM Director Bob Abbey says the lease auction promotes energy development while protecting land, water, wildlife and archaeological sites.

Across the West and offshore, the BLM will hold more than 40 oil and gas leases auctions this year.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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