A federal judge has signed an order distributing over $24 million to royalty owners and the lawyers that represented them in a six-year battle over improperly paid oil and gas royalties.
Judge Keith P. Ellison in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, signed the final motion and distribution order on July 2.
Judge Ellison approved the settlement in May during a fairness hearing, confirming a 100 percent payout to class members and $9 million in attorney fees. The hearing was the final step in a settlement process with Repsol Oil and Gas USA, LLC (formerly Talisman Energy USA), for claims that the company improperly allocated production volumes and underpaid owners for wells operated in the Eagle Ford Shale basin in South Texas.
“We are one step closer to making things right for over 2,700 individual royalty owners systematically underpaid for over three years,” said Provost Umphrey Law Firm attorney Bryan Blevins. “It has been a long battle but one that needed to be fought.”
Along with Mr. Blevins, Provost Umphrey attorney Michael Hamilton represents plaintiffs Rayanne Regmund Chesser, Gloria Janssen and others in the lawsuit, which includes royalty owners in Texas and across the nation. According to the lawsuit, the company failed to report, account and make royalty payments based on the terms of their lease agreements from Jan. 1, 2013, to June 1, 2016. In addition, the company altered production volumes by as much as 30 percent and paid royalties based on estimated sales instead of the actual volume of oil or gas sold, according to the claims.
Talisman entered the Texas oil and gas market in a joint venture with Statoil (now Equinor) in 2010. In July 2013, a revised agreement split the well operations between the two companies. Royalty owners immediately noticed a significant difference in reported production volumes from Talisman compared to Statoil.
Repsol Oil and Gas USA, LLC is a subsidiary of Repsol, SA, an energy and petrochemical company based in Madrid, Spain. Repsol acquired Talisman Energy USA in 2015.
The case is Rayanne Regmund Chesser, et al. v. Talisman Energy USA INC., Class Action No. 4:16-cv-02960 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
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