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Landowners File Fracking Lawsuits For Lost Royalties

March 22nd, 2016

Thousands of North Dakota landowners have filed fracking lawsuits against the state’s major energy companies. The suits claim that the oil and gas drillers owe them millions of dollars in unpaid royalties and lease payments. The steep drop in oil prices has led many drilling companies to abandon thousands of wells across the state. Many of the fracking lawsuits also involve contractors who have worked on the wells and allege that they are owed millions of dollars in back pay.

Details of a Landowner’s Fracking Lawsuit

A North Dakota couple filed a fracking lawsuit claiming that an oil drilling company owed them $90,000 in royalty payments. The payments were due to the couple as part of a leasing agreement. The couple leased their water rights to the oil company, which then used the water as part of their fracking operations. When oil prices dropped, the company abandoned its wells and, according to the fracking lawsuit, owed its subcontractors an additional $180,000.

Fracking Lawsuits Reflect Boom and Bust

The fracking boom in North Dakota began in 2007, as the advent of horizontal drilling technology gave drillers unprecedented access to previously unreachable reserves of oil and natural gas. The fracking wells required millions of gallons of water to break up the shale deposits that surrounded the oil reserves. When the fracking wells started closing down in 2015, the demand for water rights from nearby landowners plummeted. As the drillers pulled out of the region, the number of fracking lawsuits increased.

Fracking Lawsuits Grow As Oil Prices Drop

The oil bust has sparked a record number of fracking lawsuits across the state. In 2015, the western district of North Dakota saw more than 9,300 civil cases filed, a new record. The number of small claims actions among those cases jumped by nearly one-third over the previous year. Ron Ness, the president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, told reporters that he expects the number of fracking lawsuits to increase. “As you see things continue to tighten, you are probably going to see more squabbles among the contractors,” he said.

Fracking Lawsuits Overwhelm State Courts

The immense backlog of fracking lawsuits has threatened to flood the state’s court system. Carolyn Probst, clerk of courts for northwestern North Dakota, told reporters that the high number of fracking lawsuits has overwhelmed judges, clerks, and other court staff. She said that, while the energy industry has slowed down across the state, “Our caseload has not.”

Source: Wahpeton Daily News

Know Your Rights in a Fracking Lawsuit

To find out how we can help you with a fracking lawsuit, contact us today at 1-855-877-7455. Our friendly staff will ask a few questions about your case and connect you to a fracking lawsuit attorney. You can also fill out the “Confidential Evaluation” form at the top of this page.

NOTE: This blog post is a news story and does not reflect any endorsement of the Amaro Law Firm by any of the parties mentioned herein.

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