It seems that federal regulations lobbied for, fiercely defended and in part written by oil companies allowed them to tell the Interior Department they received lower sales prices for natural gas – than they told their own shareholders. As a result, they paid lower royalties. And as a result, they paid lower royalties. And as a result, taxpayers – technically the owners of the U.S. oil and gas reserves – get stiffed.
In fact, this happened once before, five years ago, about royalty payments for oil. Back then, oil companies paid a total of $438 million to settle charges they’d understated their sales prices for oil. But since then the Bush administration ‘loosened’ the rules for natural gas.
Maybe next time they should let someone who heats their home with natural gas help write the regulations.