Two energy companies on Monday announced they would pay $52.5 million to settle lawsuits filed by 13,000 property owners who claimed they were cheated out of natural gas royalties.
The companies, Chesapeake Energy and Total E&P USA, agreed to the payments to end cases in Tarrant and Johnson counties over the past few years.
“We are pleased to have reached a mutually acceptable resolution of this legacy issue and look forward to further strengthening our relationships with our royalty owners,” Chesapeake spokesman Gordon Pennoyer said in a prepared statement.
As part of the settlement, Chesapeake will pay $29.3 million and Total will pay $13.1 million in cash, and Chesapeake will pay another $10 million in three years.
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The deal must be approved by 90 percent of the clients of two Fort Worth law firms involved in the case, the McDonald law firm and Cicelli, Walter & Young.
Payments to each client will vary based on production and lease language, Pennoyer said in a news release. Some may get a few hundred dollars and others will receive several thousand dollars, he said.
The deal is separate from an out-of-court settlement announced with the city of Fort Worth. Terms of that settlement are set to be voted on by the City Council on Tuesday but terms have not been disclosed.