By Ralph Schaefer | Tulsa World
Royalty owners are scarcely noticed in news stories that discuss the impact of oil and gas companies reporting layoffs or closing their doors.
Yet this group of unnoticed people, with billions of dollars of spending capacity, have a huge role in the community, said Jerry Simmons, National Association of Royalty Owners executive director.
A 2012 Montana State University study estimated that 81 percent of the oil production in the U.S. was on private properties. The study reported that $22 billion was paid in royalties. A large part of that number was corporate owned, but between eight to 12 million royalty owners received some payment.