Continental Resources and Equinor are the two largest recipients so far of royalty refunds from North Dakota as payouts now exceed $3.2 million.
The money is drawn on $300 million set aside to refund royalty owners whose minerals along the edge of Lake Sakakawea near Williston were taken by the state in the dispute over the Ordinary High Water Mark.
“I would expect that we will see an increase in dollar amount for payouts over the course of the next couple of months as the project moves further east along the river,” said State Land Commissioner Jodi Smith.
The payout stems from SB 2134 implemented two years ago by the State Legislature to correct minerals taken by the state which incorrectly determined its ownership based on the OHWM was extended by Lake Sakakawea water line instead of the Missouri River.
Most of the disputed leases cover a 30-mile stretch along the lake, and the land agency is focusing first on those near Williston by the Hwy. 85 Bridge.
Here is what has been refunded:
Equinor received $899,065.99 in bonus payments and $680,213.50 in royalties while another $132,046.75 in royalties was refunded to the ND Board of University and School Lands.
Continental received $825,721.00 in bonus payments and $321,987.49 in royalties.
Petro Hunt was paid $55,289.10 in bonuses while Wild Cat Oil & Gas received $2,984 in bonus payments
Riverbend received $308,543.85 in bonus payments and was refunded $160,993.71 in royalties
Smith said her agency is will waiting on operators to executive 64 offers that have been sent while another 79 are on hold because of legal disputes. There are still 531 leases under review and nine are in the process of being refunded.