A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

ExxonMobil unit, XTO, fined $1.3m for audit failure

23 February 2015, News Wires – ExxonMobil’s unconventional unit XTO Energy has been fined more than $1.3 million by federal US regulators for wilfully failing to permit an audit in North Dakota.

The Department of the Interior’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) said in a statement this week that that the civil penalty, which involved several communitisation agreements in North Dakota, “substantially delayed the audit completion and diverted ONRR’s resources to pursuing, rather than examining, the requested information”.

“It is imperative that companies provide information requested for an audit,” said ONRR deputy assistant secretary Paul Mussenden, adding that XTO had failed to provide requested information related to federal oil and gas leases.

The leases were included within several communisation agreements in North Dakota. Multiple leases are often combined under a communitisation agreement if they are drawing from the same oil or gas reservoir, ONRR said.

North Dakota originally sent an audit engagement letter and data request to XTO in February 2013, requesting the information by 1 April of that month.

The state and ONRR sent “numerous” follow-up e-mails to Texas-based XTO detailing what was needed to complete the audit. The company was also granted an extended deadline for compiliance.

“However, the company did not fully comply until February 2014, preventing timely completion of North Dakota’s audit,” ONRR said in a statement.

XTO did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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