Monday, December 07, 2009

The gas royalty series in the Bristol paper

Here are parts one and two of what is said to be an eight-part series by Daniel Gilbert detailing some inequities in the Virginia law pertaining to royalties for natural gas and coalbed methane.

The escrow statute for recovering escroyed royalties for coalbed methane is Va. Code 45.1-361.22, and it provides: "The Board shall order payment of principal and accrued interest, less escrow account fees, from the escrow account to conflicting claimants only after (i) a final decision of a court of competent jurisdiction adjudicating the ownership of coalbed methane gas as between them or (ii) an agreement among all claimants owning conflicting estates in the tract in question or any undivided interest therein. Upon receipt of an affidavit from conflicting claimants affirming such decision or agreement, the designated operator shall, within 30 days, file with the Board a petition for disbursement of funds on behalf of the conflicting claimants. The petition shall include a detailed accounting of all funds deposited in escrow that are subject to the proposed disbursement. The amount to be paid to the conflicting claimants shall be determined based on the percentage of ownership interest of the conflicting claimants as shown in the operator's supplemental filing made part of the pooling order that established the escrow account, the operator's records of deposits attributable to those tracts for which funds are being requested, and the records of the escrow account for the coalbed methane gas drilling unit. The petition for disbursement shall be placed on the first available Board docket. Funds shall be disbursed within 30 days after the Board decision and receipt by the Department of all documentation required by the Board. The interests of any cotenants that have not been resolved by the agreement or by judicial decision shall remain in the escrow account."

Sounds like a party.

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