A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against Talisman Energy USA alleging that the company underpaid royalties for leases in the Eagle Ford Basin.

Eugene and Kimberly Cran of DeWitt County filed a lawsuit against Pennsylvania-based Talisman Energy USA alleging that the company “consistently shorted royalty payments.”

The lawsuit, filed in Texas on October 3, includes claims against Talisman for breach of contract, fraud, conversion and unjust enrichment.

The Crans are being represented by Texas-based Provost Umphrey Law Firm.

In a statement issued by the Crans’ attorney, the couple alleges that Talisman “manipulated” oil and gas production volumes “by as much as 20 to 30 percent.”

Talisman entered the Eagle Ford play in 2010 after acquiring leases and wells as part of a 50/50 joint venture with Norway-based Statoil.

In July 2013, Talisman and Statoil revised their agreement to allow Statoil to assume well operations for half of the Eagle Ford joint venture, with Talisman staying on as the operator for the remaining wells.

The Crans allege that, shortly after the transfer of operations, they began receiving checks from Talisman with “substantial variances in production volumes compared to those reflected in their Statoil royalty payments.”

The lawsuit alleges that Talisman “secretly” altered “wellhead production data by arbitrarily reducing the measured volumes of oil and gas by as much as 20 percent.”

The lawsuit also alleges that Talisman “further reduced the measured volumes in the spring of 2015,” shortly after the company was purchased by Spain-based Repsol.

Earlier this year, Statoil become the sole operator of the Eagle Ford Shale joint venture.

The Crans have requested a jury trial and are being represented by Bryan O. Blevins Jr. and Michael Hamilton of Provost Umphrey and Ernest Freeman and Stephen Scholl of the Freeman Law Firm in Houston.

“When Talisman entered the U.S. market, they were totally unprepared to manage fractional ownership interest by individual royalty owners whose rights and remedies are governed by their lease terms,” Blevins said.

The case is Cran v. Talisman Energy USA Inc., No. 6:16-CV-00064, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Victoria Division.


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