Settlement of Trespass Claims Against Statoil Oil & Gas LP and Statoil Oil & Gas Services, Inc.
BISMARCK - U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon today announced Statoil Oil & Gas LP and Statoil Oil & Gas Services, Inc., of Austin, Texas (collectively "Statoil") have agreed to pay the United States $1,989,560.72 to resolve civil claims against Statoil relating to mineral trespass.
The North Dakota Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management routinely reviews data regarding existing oil wells to assess whether the wells are impacting federally owned minerals. In October 2013 information was developed indicating that an oil well operated by Statoil drilled into unleased federally owned minerals located in McKenzie County, North Dakota. A joint investigation by the United States Department of the Interior’s Office of Inspector General and the Bureau of Land Management's Special Investigations Group confirmed that on or about December 16, 2011 Statoil began drilling a well which later entered into unleased federally owned minerals. The well, designated Jay 24-13 #1H, had been planned by Statoil’s predecessor, Brigham Oil & Gas L.P., and was drilled approximately two weeks after Statoil acquired Brigham Oil & Gas L.P. Statoil later produced and sold federally owned oil and natural gas from the well valued at nearly $2,000,000. Statoil has fully cooperated with the United States in its investigation of this incident.
Under the terms of the settlement, the United States will recover the full value of the federal oil and natural gas.
The case was investigated by Special Agent T. Lynn Gannon, United States Department of the Interior Office of Inspector General, Energy Investigations Unit.
Assistant United States Attorney James Patrick Thomas handled the matter for the United States.