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Jury awards oil magnate Pickens $140 million in Texas wells case

A jury in Texas unanimously decided to award in excess of $140 million to oil magnate T. Boone Pickens and his Mesa Petroleum Partners.

Pickens had accused J. Cleo Thompson and Delaware Basin Resources of attempting to cheat him out of profits and ownership interests regarding more than 160 wells in Texas' Reeves and Pecos counties.

A spokesman for Pickens said in a statement that he is "very grateful to the jury for their time in reaching a fair conclusion to this case."

"We have maintained from the beginning that Mesa's oil and gas interests were taken illegally. The Red Bull is part of what is now one of the biggest resource plays in the world, and we are hopeful that the jury's decision here will mean that the long history of fair dealings in the oil industry continues. This case emphasizes and validates important legal rights, and we are proud to have been a part of it," the spokesman said in a statement.

J. Cleo Thompson CFO Paul Rudnicki said in a statement that the company is "gratified" that the "jury's award against J. Cleo Thompson of approximately $6 million is a fraction of what Mr. Pickens and his lawyers originally sought."

"This verdict also followed the court's dismissal of most of Mesa's other claims before trial. We believe the evidence does not support the verdict that J. Cleo Thompson breached the joint operating agreement. For example, J. Cleo Thompson did not even drill the wells at issue in the verdict. We plan to ask the judge to enter judgment in our favor on those points. We thank the jury and the court for their service and hard work in this case," Rudnicki said in a statement.

CORRECTION

This report has been updated to reflect that there was a finding of breach of contract in the judgment, not conspiracy.