The Norman Transcript

Headlines

February 24, 2013

Missing: Mineral rights holders

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Even when owners do file claims to retrieve payments, they end up with less money than they were originally owed. The state charges a 10 percent fee when the money is first deposited from force pooling leases. The money also diminishes in value over time due to inflation. Owners get none of the interest or investment returns.

The state is required by law to publish a list of the newest names of mineral owners who can’t be located twice a year.

The Treasurer’s Office maintains an online database, searchable by name, listing all unclaimed deposits and whether they are worth less or more than $100. It also sets up booths every year at the state fairs in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, where people can check the database.

The state stores the money in two accounts.

When oil and gas companies make payments owed to missing mineral owners in force pooling agreements, they deposit it with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s Mineral Owners Escrow Account. The deposits remain in that account for five years. Then they are transferred to the state treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Fund, from which the state can borrow.

The Unclaimed Property Fund also receives other direct mineral-rights payments from oil and gas companies. Typically, in these cases, the companies have lost track of mineral owners who had already struck a deal with the company.

Almost every year, the state borrows from the fund, which also includes money from abandoned bank accounts, unclaimed paychecks, stocks, utility deposits and other sources.

During each of the last four years, the Treasurer’s Office has made $10 million of the deposits available for appropriation by the Legislature.

The Legislature has also dipped into the fund periodically to plug budget gaps. During the last two years, those allocations totaled $42 million.

Between the two accounts, if every person owed funds stepped forward at the same time to claim their share, the state would be obligated to pay out about $350 million, said Tim Allen, spokesman for the Treasurer’s Office. That is more than two and a half times the available cash. About $105 million of that belongs to mineral-rights owners.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Water Reclamation Wastewater upgrade under way

    Norman’s $63 million water reclamation facility upgrade is under way. Once known as a sewer plant, the facility’s moniker reflects the current trend in water reuse and treatment that’s crossing the United States....

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Okla. City museum shows pigeons in positive light

    OKLAHOMA CITY — It wasn’t long after Lorrie Monteiro started her new gig as curator of the American Pigeon Museum that she started to wonder, “What have I done?” Monteiro had experience working at museums but knew almost nothing about the ...

    August 1, 2014

  • Bicycle Racks Five more bike racks installed downtown

    Public art was installed Thursday along east Main Street in historic downtown Norman. Five colorful art pieces aren’t just for looks. The musical notes, dream catcher, fork and spoon, scissortail flycatcher and a bent arrow also are bike ...

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meet the Sooners on Saturday

    Meet the Sooners Day will be Saturday at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. The annual, free event kicks off preseason practice and gives University of Oklahoma fans an opportunity to interact with their favorite players and ...

    August 1, 2014

  • OKC man charged with rape

    After being brutally raped and kidnapped for four days, a woman escaped and called 911 last week, which led to charges against an Oklahoma City man. Zohaib Sahibzada Dastgir, 28, was charged with three counts of first-degree rape, two ...

    August 1, 2014

  • One killed when shipping container falls onto vehicle

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City police say one person was killed when a shipping container was knocked from an Oklahoma National Guard vehicle and landed on a pickup truck....

    August 1, 2014

  • Target taps outsider as CEO for shakeup

    NEW YORK — Target is bringing in an outsider as its CEO for the first time as the retailer fights to redefine itself to American shoppers....

    August 1, 2014

  • Parks officials set to fog for mosquitoes in Norman

    Norman parks and recreation officials will fog for mosquitoes Saturday night in northeast Norman....

    August 1, 2014

  • New natural gas plant coming to south central area

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A new plant projected to process 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day is coming to the Grady/Stephens county area....

    August 1, 2014

  • Motorists should watch for pedestrians

    With another school year approaching, the Norman Police Department wants motorists to be mindful of the increase in pedestrian and vehicle traffic. During the month of August, the Norman Police Department will concentrate resources in the ...

    August 1, 2014