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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Utah Geothermal Steam Lease (Utah Trust Lands) (3-UT-e)

The Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (UTLA) administers the sale, exchange, and lease of state school and institutional trust lands in Utah. UTLA was created to manage 12 real estate trusts granted to the state of Utah at its statehood. At that time, 1/9 of the total land in the state was designated for school trust land. Cash and proceeds from leases and sales of this land has been deposited into the permanent funds of the beneficiaries. Trust lands include both surface lands and mineral lands. However, the UTLA will only issue geothermal steam leases on parcels of land in which they hold both the surface and subsurface interests fee simple. It is worth noting, however, that the developer will still be required to obtain a permit to appropriate the geothermal fluids from the Utah Division of Water Rights before having the legal right to develop the geothermal resource on the leased lands.

Geothermal Steam Lease (Utah Trust Lands) Process

3-UT-e.1 – Does UTLA Own the Lands Fee Simple

The UTLA will issue leases competitively or non-competitively for geothermal steam resources only on lands where the agency owns both the surface and mineral rights (R850-27-200).

In addition to this fee-ownership requirement, UTLA will not issue leases form less than a quarter-quarter section or surveyed lot unless it is specifically approved by the Director. Leases from UTLA are also limited to no more than 640 acres unless specifically approved by the Director.

3-UT-e.2 – Is Disposal through Competitive Bid Filing

UTLA may issue competitive or non-competitive leases in accordance with R850-27-200.

When the UTLA has designated a competitive bid filing period, the application process follows the procedure beginning in 3-UT-e.4. For non-competitive applications for leases, the applicant should follow the process in 3-UT-e.3.

3-UT-e.3 – Application for Geothermal Steam Lease

When applications for leases are received for filing in the UTLA office, they are immediately stamped with the exact date and time of filing. The time indicated on the time stamp is deemed the time of filing unless the agency determines that the application is materially deficient in any particular or particulars. If an application is determined to be deficient, it will be returned to the applicant. If two or more applications for the same lease contain identical bids and bear a time stamp showing the applications were filed at the same time, the agency will award the lease by public drawing or oral bidding (R850-27-500).

3-UT-e.4 – Notice of Offering Lands for Competitive Bid

UTLA will offer notice for an offering of lands for competitive bid filing for no less than 15 consecutive days after the notice is posted in the agency office.

3-UT-e.5 - Geothermal Energy Competitive Application

A competitive bid application should be submitted to UTLA in a separately sealed envelope and marked for competitive bid filing. The minimum acceptable bid should be at least equal to the statutory rental rate for the first year of the lease (R850-27-500.3)

If any application is later rejected, any money tendered for rental will be refunded or credited to the applicant.

3-UT-e.6 to 3-UT-e.7 – Review Lease Application(s) and Select Successful Applicant

Prior to the issuance of a lease for geothermal resources, the applicant may be required to obtain insurance of a type and in an amount acceptable to the UTLA.

Proof of insurance is in the form of a certificate of insurance containing sufficient information to satisfy the agency that insurance provisions of the permit have been complied with (R850-24-200). The following requirements apply to the insurance provided by the applicant:

  1. shall be with an insurer with a financial rating assigned by the Best Insurance Guide of A:X or higher (unless waived by the agency)
  2. the agency retains the right to review the coverage, form, and amount of insurance at any time

3-UT-e.8 – Geothermal Steam Lease

The geothermal steam lease issued by UTLA will include the minimum requirements from R850-27-300; Geothermal Steam Lease Provisions.

3-UT-e.9 – Submit Plan of Operation and Bond Prior to Any Surface Disturbance (R850-24-700)

At least 60 days prior to the commencement of any surface disturbance, drilling, or other operations, the lessee shall submit a plan of operations to the UTLA in accordance with the terms and conditions required by the agency, as set forth in R850-24-700. Under no circumstance shall the lessee commence operations without a plan of operation approved by the agency. In addition, a bond may be required under R850-24-600.

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Edit Utah Department of Natural Resources
Geothermal Resource and Steam Leasing (Utah Trust Lands) Contact
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Edit Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration
Geothermal Steam Lease Contact #2 (Utah Trust Lands)
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