Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenues (ONRR) Monday said it was assessing a $1.9 million civil penalty against Houston-based Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. for knowingly and willfully maintaining false, inaccurate or misleading information on ONRR's database.

"We simply will not tolerate submission and maintenance of inaccurate reports," said Greg Gould, acting deputy assistant secretary for ONRR. "Cabot's [allegedly] improper reporting in ONRR's financial system wastes ONRR's audit resources and distorts mineral volume information used by the public and other government agencies." He noted that accurate reporting is critical for ONRR to ensure proper royalties are paid for production from public and Native American lands.

ONRR said auditors initially discovered numerous errors in Cabot's royalty reports in 2008 while examining a multi-year period (2004-2008). Cabot worked to correct the inaccurate reports for the audit period, but it failed to effectively do so for the post-audit period that also contained inaccurate reports, according to ONRR.

The civil penalty totaled $1,934,000 as of March 31, and will continue to accrue until Cabot corrects its inaccurate reports, according to Interior. The company may request a hearing in the civil penalty.

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