Note: This version includes a comment XTO Energy issued Wednesday morning.
The federal Office of Natural Resources Revenue, part of the Interior Department, said Tuesday it issued a $648,000 civil penalty against Fort Worth-based XTO Energy over the producer's lack of response to its requests for information related to an audit. The agency said it asked for data in 2012 regarding a federal lease in Kansas. XTO "did not comply with" that request and "did not respond to numerous follow-up telephone and email messages referencing the request," ONRR said in a news release. The penalty, it said, is for "knowing or willful failure to permit an audit."
In an email response to the Star-Telegram, XTO said it has requested a hearing on the matter and on Oct. 18 filed a petition for a stay of the penalty. The company said the two Kansas wells that are the focus of the audit were operated and sold by Ellora Operating LP prior to XTO's acquisition of Ellora in late 2010. For that reason, the company said, "locating the records involved was difficult and time-consuming. XTO did provide the required records. ONRR completed the audit, and assessed an additional amount in royalties, which XTO paid."
In its release announcing the penalty, ONRR Director Greg Gould had said that "XTO's non-responsiveness to an audit information request prevented ONRR auditors from performing substantive steps in an audit of one of XTO's federal oil and gas properties." ONRR collects and disburses revenue on energy production from onshore federal and American Indian lands and from offshore production on the Outer Continental Shelf. It disbursed $12.15 billion in 2012.
-- Jim Fuquay