There have been three lease sales since the Fourth Osage Minerals Council members took their oath of office on July 2, 2018. Two of those lease sales were held in 2018, the third was held in the summer of 2021, with one councilwoman calling it “embarrassing” during a Sept. 15 meeting.
“This is the one thing that we [the OMC and the BIA] should be working hand in hand together on, making sure that lease sales are done,” said Councilwoman Margo Gray to BIA Osage Agency Superintendent Robin Phillips. She continued, “This is the one thing and we’ve only had three. I would be embarrassed, I am embarrassed. That's why I wanted to put it out there and council.”
The minerals council recently passed a resolution [4-430] to hold quarterly lease sales, however, Phillips argued the BIA’s Osage Agency needs more time in between sales to prepare.
Phillips said, “Well I did ask my realty specialist, and I asked her how long it basically takes and she said to allow 90 to 120 days for a nomination period and then another six weeks.”
The BIA recommended the next lease sales be held in March and September of 2022.
Since the minerals council must hold meetings after the lease sales to confirm the results, Chairman Everett Waller took the initiative to pick the lease sale dates to line up with the regular meetings on the third Wednesday of the month. Those days are March 16 and Sept. 21.
Gray made a motion to change resolution 4-430 from four lease sales a year to two. However, not every council member agreed on the lesser number of sales.
Councilman Talee Redcorn asked, “Why are we limiting our ability to sell oil and gas leases by going from four to two?” He continued, “We got to sell some oil, that’s our business. We got to sell these leases, that’s in the Constitution.”
Councilman Paul Revard agreed with Redcorn saying, “I don’t like the superintendent’s office telling us when and where we can have a lease sale, I think that’s our responsibility.”
Phillips explained the process of preparing for the sales.
“The Osage Agency works with the OMC in identifying a specific date for the oil and gas lease sales. So, without a resolution and that date being provided to the agency we’re just waiting for some guidance from you all,” she said.
Once the BIA has the resolution, a notice is prepared and published for prospective bidders to submit nominations.
“At that point, the agency brings those in, and then we have to review the nominated tracks to ensure that those nominated tracks are available. And, if they are available then we have to prepare what is called a lease sale bulletin,” Phillips said.
Once the lease sale bulletin is made, it is sent out to the lessees and it is posted.
Councilwoman Susan Foreman said, “We have to have the time to pick leases, we have to have the time to allow anyone that wants to make a bid to do their due diligence. This last lease sale they had four days. You know, we have to be practical about this as well.”
The motion for two lease sales a year passed four to two, Councilwoman Harlan was not present to vote. However, there is a possibility for more lease sales per year if the council and Osage Agency’s lease sales are successful.
Phillips said, “I had spoke with the chairman and said, ‘you know, let's see if we can start having two a year and then see how productive or successful we are in getting that done and then sure, if you want to have more then that's better.’ That is our agency, that is our trust responsibility in working with you and doing something like that.”