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MIAMI-The federal government is paying real estate developer Collier Enterprises of Naples, FL $120 million for oil and gas rights in three Florida preservation areas.

The government is also paying $115 million to Murphy Oil Co. of El Dorado, AR; Chevron Texaco Corp. of New York; and Conoco Inc. of Houston for similar rights in the Destin Dome area of Pensacola in northwest Florida.

For Collier Enterprises, the largest land-holding company in South Florida, the deal marks the end of a seven-year saga in trying to unload its mineral rights to the government in exchange for cash or a traded federal property.

Collier’s rights are at Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida Panther Wildlife Refuse and Ten Thousand Islands National Refuge. Congress still has to approve both deals.

In previous attempts to trade its mineral rights for real estate, Collier CEO/president Tom Flood and his associates had unsuccessfully tried to do deals for the 1,000-acre Orlando Naval Training Center, now a mixed-use residential/commercial development; and the former Homestead Air Force Base in south Florida. Flood couldn’t be reached at GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline.

The unprecedented buyout transactions were announced May 29 by President Bush in Washington.

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