Audit: State could be losing oil royalty money
BATON ROUGE - A new review by the legislative auditor says the state Department of Natural Resources hasn't done a consistent job of collecting the millions in royalties owed to the state from oil and gas activity.
The audit says lax reviews by the department's Office of Mineral Resources could have cost the state cash that it was owed.
The review covered five budget years from 2007 through 2012.
It says officials didn't impose penalties on some companies that made late royalty payments and waived another 45 percent of penalties assessed. Auditors say the state failed to collect $1.7 million in royalties from companies that calculated taxes improperly.
The Department of Natural Resources agreed with most audit findings, and said it will consider recommended improvements, saying the department strives to improve collections.