NGI The Weekly Gas Market Report / NGI All News Access

BP Amoco, Williams Reach Partial Settlement with Utes

March 29, 1999
/ Print
| Share More
/ Text Size+

BP Amoco, Williams Reach Partial Settlement with Utes

BP Amoco and the Williams Cos. announced last week they have reached a partial settlement with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, while leaving the key issues of their dispute to be determined in an upcoming Supreme Court case. The settlement released Williams and BP Amoco from all claims included in the Southern Utes' lawsuit against them but did not address key ownership issues.

Details of the agreements are still being negotiated and must be approved by the U.S. District Court.

"Although other issues remain, this would be the first step toward closure of this matter, if it is approved," said Kelly Swan, a Williams Energy spokesman. "We have settled the Tribe's suit against us, and now we are waiting on the Supreme Court to finish the rest."

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 coalbed methane gas that exists on 200,000 acres of tribe property in the San Juan Basin (See NGI Jan. 25, 1999). 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.

The settlements require Williams' Williams Production Co. and BP Amoco's Amoco Production Co. to 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.

"In layman's terms, we are going to give a percentage of what we make from the fields to the Ute Tribe," Swan said. "This settlement should stand the test of time if it's approved. The Court's decision will have little impact, except for a few tax issues, on this proposed agreement."

Ownership of the gas produced from the 200,000 acres is a question the Supreme Court will answer by mid-1999, Williams said.

John Norris

©Copyright 1999 Intelligence Press, Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news report may not be republished or redistributed in whole or in part without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.

ISSN © 2577-9877 | ISSN © 1532-1266
Comments powered by Disqus