Anadarko to pay $17 million royalty settlement

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department says Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Kerr-McGee Corp. and affiliates have agreed to pay more than $17 million to settle allegations of knowingly underpaying royalties on natural gas produced from federal land and Indian leases.

With Anadarko's settlement Monday, oil and gas companies have now paid more than $249 million to settle allegations of shortchanging the government on royalties. Previous settlements in the case, which began in 1996, have involved other industry defendants.

In 2006, Kerr-McGee became a subsidiary of Houston-based Anadarko.

The Anadarko settlement arose from a lawsuit filed by whistleblower Harrold Wright under the False Claims Act. Wright is deceased, so his heirs will receive $1.95 million plus interest as their share of the settlement.

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