FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASECIV
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2001(202) 514-2007
WWW.USDOJ.GOVTDD (202) 514-1888
BURLINGTON TO PAY $8.5 MILLION FOR OIL ROYALTY UNDERPAYMENTS
MORE THAN $400 MILLION PAID TO DATE BY 13 COMPANIES
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Burlington Resources Inc. has agreed to pay the United States $8.5 million to resolve claims under the False Claims Act and administrative claims that the corporation underpaid royalties due for oil produced on federal and Indian leases between 1988 and 1998, the Justice Department announced today.
Federal leases are administered by the Minerals Management Service of the United States Department of the Interior. Each month, Burlington is required to report the amount and value of oil produced on federal leases. The oil company pays royalties based upon the value of the oil they report.
J. Benjamin Johnson, Jr., and John Martinek filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court in Lufkin, Texas against the Burlington Resources on behalf of the U. S. under the qui tam or whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act. The two will share in the proceeds of the settlement.
Including today's agreement with Burlington, the Justice Department has reached settlements of more than $400 million to resolve claims of underpayment of royalties with 12 other oil companies. Previously, the Department had reached agreements with Mobil Oil, $45 million; Oxy USA, Inc., $7.3 million; Chevron, $95 million; Conoco, $26 million; BP Amoco, $32 million; Texaco, $43 million; Pennzoil, $11.9 million; UPRC, $2.7 million; Sun Oil Company, $200,000; Exxon Mobil for $7 million; Shell Oil, $110 million and Kerr-McGee, $13 million.
The investigation and settlement were jointly handled by the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas and the Civil Division of the Department of Justice, with the assistance of the Department of the Interior's Office of Inspector General and the Minerals Management Service.
The case is entitled US ex rel. Johnson v. Shell Oil Co., Civil No. 9:96CV66 (E.D. Texas).