Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Blair Lekstrom says the current drop in land sales is nothing to worry about.

Wednesday’s February sale generated only 17.6 million dollars in bonus bids and for the year the province is already about 100 million dollars behind last year’s record pace.

Lekstrom says despite the last two month drop in sales, he’s looking at the bigger picture. He says the drop will not negatively affect this year’s budget. [asset|aid=1023|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=dc5be80a45b9610325932513cdfd8e72-Blair Lekstrom 1_3_Pub.mp3]

After exploding in recent years thanks to new drilling technology, significant drilling plans in the highest-cost plays, such as the Horn River Basin North of Fort Nelson have been put on hold. Lekstrom says he is remaining optimistic about the future of land sales. [asset|aid=1024|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=dc5be80a45b9610325932513cdfd8e72-Blair Lekstrom 2_2_Pub.mp3]

He says on a positive note, drilling is up 10 point 5 percent in British Columbia during January of ’09 while drilling is down 9 point 8 percent worldwide.