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WV Royalty Owners Could Have Money Coming And Not Know It

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Thursday, August 13, 2009   

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - West Virginia has more natural gas wells than any state except Texas, and scattered across the mountains are thousands of people who lease out their mineral rights. A class action lawsuit is forcing natural gas producer Dominion Transmission to repay some of these royalty owners for drilling expenses that should not have been charged against their royalties. But to get repayment, the landowners have to file a claim form.

Dave McMahon, with the West Virginia Surface Owners Rights Organization, says the claims administrators were unable to get all the forms in by the original deadline, so it was moved back.

"So many people were calling at the last minute, having trouble, that the court signed an order that extended that deadline to August 24th of this year. The concern is that people will have given up, won't know that they still have time to make their claim."

The royalty owners covered by the lawsuit have the choice of claiming a larger back-payment with smaller future payments, or a smaller lump sum and larger future checks. McMahon says if the owner thinks the land might support more gas wells or if the current wells are good producers, they should take the smaller payment. But if not, he suggests they go for the larger check.

"If it's a well that's on its last legs, then you are probably better to take the larger back-payment and the smaller future royalty."

McMahon recommends that anyone with a question go to the claims administrator's website, www.dominionclass.com.


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