By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Occidental Petroleum has selected a bidder other than the state of Wyoming as a potential buyer for its land and mineral rights in southern Wyoing, putting the the state’s pursuit of the property on hold, Gov. Mark Gordon announced Tuesday.
According to the release Gordon’s office, Wyoming is not currently involved in negotiations for the 1 million acres of land and 4 million acres of mineral rights. However, Gordon said the situation could change.
Earlier this summer, the state’s top five elected officials, meeting as the State Land and Investment Board, agreed to submit a bid for the property, which would have been added to the state’s investment holdings.
Gordon stressed that the state participated in the bid process to pursue a once-in-a-generation opportunity to purchase land for the public and diversify Wyoming’s investments.
Because Occidental has made no final decision on the sale of the land, the state will keep its bid confidential until there is a final sale or Wyoming withdraws its bid.
“I thank everyone who has supported this bid and provided feedback as we pursue this bold opportunity, which could be the biggest land purchase in state history,” Gordon said in the release. “We believe our bid positions Wyoming to generate additional investment revenue and would keep taxes low into the future. I greatly appreciate the willingness of Occidental to work with the State of Wyoming as a bidder.”
The governor’s office does not know the identity of the leading bidder nor the amount of the bid.