TIME LINE IN EXXON MOBIL NATURAL GAS DISPUTE
The development of the state government's natural gas royalty dispute with Exxon Mobil:
1981 - Exxon wins the bidding process for seven tracts in state-owned waters along the Alabama coast and pays the state $256 million for leases.
1984 - Exxon wins the bidding for 15 more tracts and pays the state $336 million for leases.
1990 - Exxon begins drilling along the Alabama coast.
1993 - Exxon begins production from wells along the coast.
1996 - The state conservation department audits Exxon to see if it is paying the state the correct amount of royalties from 13 successful wells.
1997 - The state conservation department says Exxon isn't paying enough and demands more money. Exxon refuses.
1999 - State files suit accusing Exxon of fraud. Exxon and Mobil merge.
2000 - Montgomery jury returns a record $3.5 billion verdict against Exxon Mobil.
2002 - Alabama Supreme Court reverses the verdict because the jury was permitted to see an Exxon Mobil internal legal memo.
2003 - Retrial begins in Montgomery County Circuit Court.