Resident seeksnatural gas profits
As another court case against Williams Production began Tuesday, area resident Joan L. Savage continues to battle for what she claims are unpaid profits from the natural gas company.Savage, a gas well royalty owner between Rifle and Rulison, took Williams to court in 1998, claiming the company overcharged her for transportation costs of gas, as well as failed to account for all production obtained from the wells. A final ruling of the Garfield County Court on March 10 upheld “Barrett/Williams underreported the price used to calculate Mrs. Savage’s royalties and failed to account for all the production obtained from the wells.” Williams appealed the ruling on April 24, and Savage issued a cross-appeal on May 5. “It’s a situation where the company is irresponsible. Most people don’t know,” said Savage. A 25-year resident of the valley, she owns royalties to 75 wells on her land and interest in roughly 25 others.A representative at Williams Production said he could not comment regarding the Savage case because the company does not discuss details of ongoing litigation. The lawsuit was originally filed against Barrett Resources, but Williams Production succeeded Barrett in 2001.The court also decided Williams could deduct from Savage’s royalties relating to the third-party transportation of natural gas from the point of entry to the pipeline’s point of sale, a decision Savage has appealed. The company should not charge her for the transportation of the gas since the company in some cases did not make a profit from the third-party transport, she said. The court also ordered Williams to recalculate the costs of certain production operations. Savage has received several checks from Williams, including those relating to her trial-related costs, which total more than $200,000. Williams responded on July 20 to those costs, objecting to paying the total amount for various reasons, including the assertion that investigation and paralegal time are not taxable as cost.A state appeals court in Denver has not decided when or if to hear the appeal, Savage said.Today, testimony begins at the Garfield County Courthouse in Glenwood Springs for Clough v. Williams, another case where a royalty owner, William Clough, brought a lawsuit against the company for unpaid funds.”It’s not just one company,” Savage said. “It’s an industry that is not behaving responsibly, and we’re going to have to work on it until we get it in line both environmentally and financially.” Contact Christine Dell’Amore: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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