Williams Reaches Partial Settlement with Utes
As a precursor to an expected mid-April Supreme Court decision
on the Southern Ute Indian Tribe vs. BP Amoco rights and royalty
case, the Williams Cos., one of the defendants represented by BP
Amoco, announced a partial settlement with the Southern Ute tribe
Thursday. The settlement released the Williams subsidiary involved
in the trial, Williams Production Co., from all claims included in
the lawsuit, but did not address key ownership issues.
Details of the agreement are still being negotiated. The deal
still must be approved by the U.S. District Court.
Under the proposed terms, Williams Production will convert the
interest accrued from the profits associated with the disputed
leases into a working interest. A portion of this interest will
then be given to the Southern Ute tribe effective Jan. 1, 1999.
Ownership of the gas produced from the 200,000 acres is a question
the Supreme Court will answer by mid-1999, Williams said. The case
went to the high court in January, after BP Amoco appealed a 10th
Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that gave the tribe ownership of
the gas (See Daily GPI, Jan. 25). Along
with Williams, BP Amoco represents a group of other oil companies and
3,000 royalty owners. Williams said none of the royalty owners have
settled any of the tribe's claims.
Williams was unavailable for further comment due to a court
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