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Burlington Resources Inc.

Washington, DC: (Aug-15-07) A lawsuit was brought against Burlington Resources Inc., a subsidiary of ConocoPhillips, following a whistleblower's claim that accused the company of underpaying royalties owed for natural gas produced on federal and Indian lands over a 17-year period. Under a program overseen by the Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service, companies are required to report the monthly value of the natural gas produced from their federal and Indian leases and to pay a percentage of the reported value as royalties. Burlington's alleged violations occurred between March 1, 1988, and March 31, 2005.

Burlington Resources Inc., which became a ConocoPhillips unit in 2006, agreed to settle the lawsuit with a $97.5 million payout. The company put the value of the settlement, including interest, at $105 million. The settlement arose from a lawsuit against several companies filed by a private whistleblower under the False Claims Act. The Justice Department previously settled with Shell Oil Co. for $56 million, with Dominion Exploration and Production Co. for $2 million, and is continuing to pursue claims against Exxon-Mobil Corp. As a result of the settlement, Burlington Resources saw a dismissal of all charges that alleged that they had violated the False Claim Act. [FORBES: WHISTLEBLOWER]

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Published on Aug-16-07


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