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    A Royal Pain

    Unocal to pay Justice Department $21.5 million to resolve claims it underpaid oil royalties.

    WASHINGTON --

    The U.S. Justice Department yesterday reached a deal with Unocal Corp. forcing the El Segundo, Calif.-based refiner to pay $21.5 million to resolve claims under the False Claims Act.

    The Justice Department claimed Unocal underpaid royalties due for oil produced on federal and Indian leases from 1990 to Dec. 31, 1998. The company will pay about $20.8 million in cash and will cancel claims for funds of overpayments of $742,518 due from the United States, the Justice Department said in a statement.

    Each month, oil companies are required to report the amount of oil produced and the value of the oil produced on federal and Indian leases. The companies pay royalties based upon the value of the oil they report.

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