More mineral owners seek to join gas lawsuits

DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) — Lawyers say dozens of western North Dakota mineral owners have expressed interest in joining lawsuits seeking damages from oil drilling companies for natural gas that is lost when it is burned instead of being captured as a byproduct of oil production.

The lawsuits against 10 oil companies in the Bakken oil fields seek class-action status to represent other western North Dakota mineral rights owners. The lawsuits argue the mineral owners have lost millions of dollars in royalties because oil drilling companies burn off large amounts of gas instead of capturing and selling it.

Texas-based lawyer Britton Monts tells the Forum landowners with wells operated by companies not already being sued are showing interest in joining the lawsuits.

Oil industry officials say they comply with state laws on flaring natural gas.