North Dakota is in a hot dispute with oil and gas companies and industry leaders over improper deductions on royalties owed to the state.
The North Dakota Department of Trust Lands wants to collect millions of dollars in oil and gas royalties that it believes were improperly withheld by oil and gas companies that do business with the state. The agency found the discrepancy during a recent audit of 19 companies from 2012 through 2014. 10 of those audited were found to have errors, according to Bismark Tribune.
“The bottom line is the companies would like to be able to take deductions because that helps them collect a smaller royalty. But my responsibility and the board’s is to ensure that the lease terms are followed and that we collect for the Common Schools Trust Fund and the other trust funds what they’re entitled.” - Land Commissioner Lance Gaebe
Getting to the bottom of the issue is being hindered because oil companies are hesitant to provide the necessary information. Industry leaders such as The North Dakota Petroleum Council are also pushing back through comments to the board and backing legislative action.