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Oil-rights sales dip on trust lands

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Annual revenues from the sale of oil and natural gas leases on New Mexico trust land have dipped to their lowest level in at least five years.

State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn on Wednesday called the $36.7 million in annual sales a robust outcome during a difficult year for oil and gas development. U.S. crude oil prices fell below $30 a barrel in January from well over $100 in 2014.

The new sales figure represents a 3 percent decline from $38 million the previous fiscal year. Sales in 2012 rocketed to $102 million. That money goes toward the state’s land maintenance fund, where overall revenues have increased $8 million from last year.

The Land Office oversees 14,000 square miles of land to help fund schools, universities and hospitals.

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