Texas leases more land, but gets lower prices amid oil slump

The demand to lease Texas' publicly held land for energy exploration has increased since last summer, despite low oil prices — but it generated lower average prices.

Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced Tuesday that his office had auctioned leases for about 14,000 acres.

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That yielded around $84 million, or an average of less than $5,900 per acre, for the Permanent School Fund, which helps cover some public education costs.

During the last offering in July, Bush's office auctioned leases for 13,000-plus acres but generated $98 million, a per-acre average of nearly $7,400.

In 2015, Bush began letting private oil companies submit online their bids to explore for oil and gas on Texas state land.

In a statement Tuesday, Bush said: "We've taken an antiquated paper-based auction and transformed it."