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The Associated Press March 16, 2011, 11:12AM ET

NM earns $5.5 million in monthly lease sale

The New Mexico Land Office has collected $9.5 million from oil and natural gas lease sales during the first quarter, with more than half of that coming from this month's sale.

The Land Office said the sale held Tuesday in Santa Fe raised more than $5.5 million for 40 tracts of land in Eddy and Lea counties. The leased parcels cover about 11,600 acres.

Land Commissioner Ray Powell said revenues generated from oil and gas lease sales kept rising with each month. The January sale brought in $1 million and the February sale raised another $3 million.

The revenue benefits the state trust, which provides funding for public schools, higher education and other institutions.

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