WASHINGTON Feb 22 Units of French energy
concern Total have agreed to pay $15 million to settle
U.S. allegations that they underpaid royalties on natural gas
from federal and Indian leases, the U.S. Justice Department said
The settlement resolves various allegations under the U.S.
False Claims Act including that Total entities reported
processed gas as unprocessed to reduce the royalty payments and
made improper deductions.
Companies that lease federal and Indian lands to produce
natural gas are required to pay royalties on what is extracted.
The settlement follows a whistleblower lawsuit.
A Total representative was not immediately available for
Last year BP Plc agreed to pay $20.5 million and Royal Dutch
Shell agreed to pay $2.3 million to settle similar allegations,
also brought to light by the same whistleblower Harrold Wright.