FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 4, 2021
Angie Poss, Assistant Commissioner of Communications
State Land Office 2020 Oil and Gas Royalty Audits Recoup $2.3 Million for Land Grant Permanent Fund
SANTA FE, NM – The New Mexico State Land Office Royalty Management Division today announced the collection of $2,302,418 from standard audits of royalty collection for calendar year 2020. The 2020 audit collection amount is a 47.5% increase from 2019 and a 120.4% increase from 2018.
The Royalty Management Division audits approximately 85% of State Land Office royalty revenue every five years. Staff auditors and compliance analysts look for mistakes and errors in reporting from all businesses that lease state trust land and are required to pay royalty on oil or gas extracted on leases. The COVID-19 pandemic required the Division to halt travel plans for field audits at company headquarters. All audits initiated after March 2020 were desk audits.
Revenue collected from business on state trust land that depletes a resource, like oil and gas extraction, development of mineral resources, or land exchanges or sales, is deposited into the Land Grant Permanent Fund, which is then invested by the State Investment Council.
Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard has prioritized the Division’s work, a crucial mechanism of accountability for the Land Grant Permanent Fund that supports New Mexico’s school children by providing the bulk of funding for public schools.
“The audit team within the Royalty Management Division worked diligently on behalf of New Mexico’s public schools, hospitals, and universities to make sure that every single penny owed to them was received this year,” Commissioner Garcia Richard said. “The State Land Office has a constitutional mandate to support these vital institutions, and the last few years we have done that to the tune of more than $2.17 billion in revenue support their operations. We greatly appreciate the cooperation of the industry in our auditing process.”
Under the leadership of Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard, the New Mexico State Land Office has seen back-to-back years of revenue over $1 billion. Over 13 million acres of state trust land are leased for a variety of uses, including ranching and farming, renewable energy, business development, mineral development, and outdoor recreation. The money earned from leasing activity supports 22 beneficiaries – New Mexico public schools, seven universities and colleges, the School for the Deaf, the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, three hospitals, water and land conservation projects, and public building construction and repair.