State Treasury Holds More Than $3 Million In Unclaimed Royalties

Over the past five years the state Treasury’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property has tracked 16,022 properties that fall under “mineral and royalty proceeds.”

From the Pittsburgh Business Times:

That totals $3.3 million, accumulated between 2007 and 2012, that is sitting in the state’s system.

“What happens with unclaimed property is that when it goes dormant, the ‘holder’ (financial institution or other entity) must file a holder report with Treasury and remit the unclaimed property,” spokeswomanElizabeth Foose said in an email. By law, after five years, holders must turn over abandoned property to the Treasury.

A 2013 report from the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy estimated that Pennsylvanians received $731 million in royalties during 2012.

However, that report relies on estimates landowners are receive the state’s minimum royalty– 12.5 percent (some have negotiated higher amounts).

A number of landowners have complained recently that they’re not receiving that minimum amount. They say some companies are taking out excessive deductions– known as “post-production” costs for moving the gas from the wellhead to the market.

The issue sparked a state Senate hearing earlier this summer, and a group of legislators is planning to introduce legislation soon to try to clarify the law and guarantee the 12.5 percent legal minimum.


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