Despite a new severance tax, energy companies apparently haven't lost interest in leasing land from the Ute Indian Tribe for oil exploration and drilling, a tribal official says.

Two weeks ago the tribe implemented a 4 percent to 10 percent sliding severance tax on oil and gas production.Wes Peddingill, director of energy and minerals for the tribe, said a Denver-based oil and gas company expressed interest Monday in acquiring approximately 6,000 acres of tribal trust land for oil exploration.

And the tribe currently is working with Coors Energy as that company increases its lease holdings by about 7,000 acres, he said.

So far the tribe hasn't experienced a drop in production due to the severance tax instituted Nov. 1 on top of the state's existing severance tax on oil and gas drilling, he said.

Tribal leaders expect the tax to help boost the tribe's dwindling revenues.