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North Dakota-owned oil, gas mineral rights valued at $2.8B

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — An estimate of oil and gas mineral rights owned by North Dakota pegs their value at $2.8 billion, an 18% increase from last year, according to an appraisal released Thursday to the state Land Board.

The increase comes largely from strong oil and natural gas prices and sustained production over the past year, according to Watford City-based MineralTracker, part of First International Bank & Trust. Joel Brown, the company’s mineral service manager, said about 9,000 wells in which the state holds an interest were examined — or about half of those operating in the state.

In the fiscal year that ended in June, North Dakota received a record $464 million in royalties from state-owned minerals, including a high of $55 million in July, the report said.

Brown said the state’s mineral rights asset is estimated to bring in more than $10 billion in royalties over the next several decades.

The new valuation considers a variety of components, including oil and gas prices and the decline expected in a well’s production over the next several decades.

MineralTracker, which does the assessment under contract with the state, produced a 35,000-page report this year, which was summarized in a 40-page document presented to the Land Board. The analysis Thursday was the third produced by the company.

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