A federal judge has approved a class action settlement, including $24.4 million in a cash fund to resolve litigation against Repsol Oil and Gas USA, LLC, formerly Talisman Energy USA, Inc., for royalty owners’ claims that the company improperly allocated production volumes and underpaid owners for wells operated in the Eagle Ford shale basin in South Texas.
In addition to the cash fund, Repsol waived any right to recover over $12 million in past overpayments to royalty owners. Judge Keith P. Ellison in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, approved the class action settlement and entered an order of judgment following a final fairness hearing May 12. The hearing was the final step in the settlement process after the judge gave preliminary approval last December to the class action settlement, the certification of the class for the settlement and the plan of allocation.
Provost Umphrey Law Firm attorneys Bryan Blevins and Michael Hamilton represented Rayanne Regmund Chesser, Gloria Janssen, and other plaintiffs in the lawsuit comprising more than 2,700 royalty owners in Texas and across the nation.
“For more than five years, we have worked tirelessly to bring the compensation to royalty owners cheated out of the money due them,” Mr. Blevins said. “We thank the judge for moving this case toward a positive resolution.”
Ms. Chesser and Ms. Janssen were among the plaintiffs to hire Mr. Blevins and the Provost Umphrey Law Firm and bring suit against Talisman Energy, accusing the company of failing 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% and paid royalties based on estimated sales instead of the actual volume of oil or gas sold.
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 Cheeser, 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.