UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
(Mark One)
[X] ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
OR
[ ] TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from to
Commission File Number: 001-36386
Gulf Coast Ultra Deep Royalty Trust
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware 46-6448579
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A., as trustee
601 Travis Street, 16th Floor
Houston, TX 77002
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)
(512) 236-6555
(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act: None
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
Royalty Trust Units
(Title of Class)

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. o Yes x No
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. o Yes x No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. x Yes o No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). o Yes o No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer o
Accelerated filer o
Non-accelerated filer x
Smaller reporting company x
Emerging growth company o
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management's assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). o Yes x No
The aggregate market value of royalty trust units held by non-affiliates of the registrant was $2.2 million on June 30, 2020.
On March 19, 2021, there were 230,172,696 royalty trust units outstanding representing beneficial interests in the registrant.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
NONE






Gulf Coast Ultra Deep Royalty Trust
Annual Report on Form 10-K for
the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page






FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report on Form 10-K (Form 10-K) contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (Exchange Act). Forward-looking statements are all statements other than statements of historical facts, such as any statements regarding the future financial condition of the Gulf Coast Ultra Deep Royalty Trust (Royalty Trust) or the trading market for the royalty trust units, all statements regarding the respective plans of McMoRan Oil & Gas LLC (McMoRan) or Highlander Oil & Gas Assets LLC (HOGA) for the subject interests, the potential results of any drilling on the subject interests by the applicable operator, anticipated interests of McMoRan or HOGA and the Royalty Trust in any of the subject interests, HOGA's geologic models and the nature of the geologic trend onshore in South Louisiana discussed in this Form 10-K, the amount and date of quarterly distributions to unitholders, and all statements regarding any belief or understanding of the nature or potential of the subject interests. The words “anticipates,” “may,” “can,” “plans,” “believes,” “estimates,” “expects,” “projects,” “intends,” “likely,” “will,” “should,” “to be,” “potential,” and any similar expressions and/or statements that are not historical facts are intended to identify those assertions as forward-looking statements.

    Forward-looking statements are not guarantees or assurances of future performance and actual results may differ materially from those anticipated, projected or assumed in the forward-looking statements. Important factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the future plans of Freeport-McMoRan Inc.(FCX) and HOGA for their remaining oil and gas properties; the risk that the subject interests will not produce additional hydrocarbons; general economic and business conditions; variations in the market demand for, and prices of, oil and natural gas; drilling results; changes in oil and natural gas reserve expectations; the potential adoption of new governmental regulations; decisions by FCX, McMoRan or HOGA not to develop and/or transfer the subject interests; any inability of FCX, McMoRan or HOGA to develop the subject interests; damages to facilities resulting from natural disasters or accidents; fluctuations in the market price, volume and frequency of the trading market for the royalty trust units; the amount of cash received or expected to be received by the Trustee from the underlying subject interests on or prior to a record date for a quarterly cash distributions; the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and federal, state and local governmental actions in response to the pandemic; and other factors described in Part I, Item 1A. “Risk Factors” in this Form 10-K, as updated by the Royalty Trust's subsequent filings with the United States (U.S.) Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Any differences in actual cash receipts by the Royalty Trust could affect the amount of quarterly cash distributions.

    Investors are cautioned that current production rates may not be indicative of future production rates or of the amounts of hydrocarbons that a well may produce, and that many of the assumptions upon which forward-looking statements are based are likely to change after such forward-looking statements are made, which the Royalty Trust cannot control. The Royalty Trust cautions investors that it does not intend to update its forward-looking statements, notwithstanding any changes in assumptions, changes in business plans, actual experience, or other changes, and the Royalty Trust undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements except as required by law.
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PART I

Items 1. and 2. Business and Properties

Our periodic and current reports filed or furnished with or to the SEC pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act including our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and any amendments to those reports are available, free of charge, through our website, http://gultu.q4web.com/home/default.aspx. These reports and amendments are available through our website as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file or furnish such materials with or to the SEC.

References to “we,” “us,” and “our” refer to the Royalty Trust. References to “Notes” refer to the Notes to the Financial Statements included herein (refer to Part II, Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this Form 10-K). We have also provided a glossary of definitions for some of the oil and gas industry terms we use in this Form 10-K beginning on page 48.

THE ROYALTY TRUST

The Royalty Trust. On June 3, 2013, FCX and McMoRan Exploration Co. (MMR) completed the transactions contemplated by the Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated as of December 5, 2012 (the merger agreement), by and among MMR, FCX, and INAVN Corp., a Delaware corporation and indirect wholly owned subsidiary of FCX (Merger Sub). Pursuant to the merger agreement, Merger Sub merged with and into MMR, with MMR surviving the merger as an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of FCX (the merger).

FCX's oil and gas assets are held through its wholly owned subsidiary, FCX Oil & Gas LLC (FM O&G). As a result of the merger, MMR and McMoRan are both indirect wholly owned subsidiaries of FM O&G.

The Royalty Trust is a statutory trust created as contemplated by the merger agreement by FCX under the Delaware Statutory Trust Act pursuant to a trust agreement entered into on December 18, 2012 (inception), by and among FCX, as depositor, Wilmington Trust, National Association, as Delaware trustee, and certain officers of FCX, as regular trustees. On May 29, 2013, Wilmington Trust, National Association, was replaced by BNY Trust of Delaware, as Delaware trustee (the Delaware Trustee), through an action of the depositor. Effective June 3, 2013, the regular trustees were replaced by The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A., a national banking association, as trustee (the Trustee).
    
The Royalty Trust was created to hold a 5% gross overriding royalty interest (collectively, the overriding royalty interests) in future production from each of McMoRan's Inboard Lower Tertiary/Cretaceous exploration prospects located in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico and onshore in South Louisiana that existed as of December 5, 2012, the date of the merger agreement (collectively, the subject interests). The subject interests were “carved out” of the mineral interests acquired by FCX pursuant to the merger and were not considered part of FCX's purchase consideration of MMR.

The overriding royalty interests are passive in nature, and neither the Trustee nor the Royalty Trust unitholders has any control over or responsibility for any costs relating to the drilling, development or operation of the subject interests. The Royalty Trust is not permitted to acquire other oil and gas properties or mineral interests or otherwise engage in activities beyond those necessary for the conservation and protection of the overriding royalty interests.

As of December 31, 2020, only the onshore Highlander subject interest had established commercial production. On February 5, 2019, McMoRan completed the sale of all of its rights, title and interest in and to the onshore Highlander subject interest pursuant to a purchase and sale agreement with HOGA (the Highlander Sale). The onshore Highlander subject interest was sold subject to the overriding royalty interest in future production held by the Royalty Trust. As a result of the Highlander Sale, HOGA has a 72 percent working interest and an approximate 48 percent net revenue interest in the onshore Highlander subject interest. The Royalty Trust continues to hold a 3.6 percent overriding royalty interest in the onshore Highlander subject interest. McMoRan was the operator of the onshore Highlander subject interest through May 31, 2019. HOGA qualified and was designated as the operator on June 1, 2019. McMoRan has informed the Trustee that it has no plans to pursue, has relinquished, has allowed to expire or has sold all of its subject interests.

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At December 31, 2020, the Royalty Trust had 230,172,696 royalty trust units outstanding. In connection with the Highlander Sale on February 5, 2019, McMoRan assigned 31,143,150 royalty trust units to HOGA and retained 31,143,149 royalty trust units. FCX and HOGA each hold 13.5% of the outstanding royalty trust units. All information in this Form 10-K regarding the subject interests has been furnished to the Trustee by HOGA. The reserve estimates have been prepared by independent petroleum engineers as described herein, based on information furnished by HOGA.

The Royalty Trust Agreement. In connection with the merger, on June 3, 2013, (1) FCX, as depositor, McMoRan, as grantor, the Trustee and the Delaware Trustee entered into the amended and restated royalty trust agreement to govern the Royalty Trust and the respective rights and obligations of FCX, the Trustee, the Delaware Trustee, and the Royalty Trust unitholders with respect to the Royalty Trust (the royalty trust agreement); and (2) McMoRan, as grantor, and the Royalty Trust, as grantee, entered into the master conveyance of overriding royalty interest (the master conveyance) pursuant to which McMoRan conveyed to the Royalty Trust the overriding royalty interests in future production from the subject interests.

Duties and Limited Powers of the Trustee. The duties of the Trustee are specified in the royalty trust agreement and by the laws of the State of Delaware. The Trustee’s principal duties consist of:

collecting income attributable to the overriding royalty interests;

paying expenses, charges and obligations of the Royalty Trust from the Royalty Trust’s income and assets;

distributing distributable income to the Royalty Trust unitholders; and

prosecuting, defending or settling any claim of or against the Trustee, the Royalty Trust or the overriding royalty interests, including the authority to dispose of or relinquish title to any of the overriding royalty interests that are the subject of a dispute upon the receipt of sufficient evidence regarding the facts of such dispute.

The Trustee has no authority to incur any contractual liabilities on behalf of the Royalty Trust that are not limited solely to claims against the assets of the Royalty Trust.

If a liability is contingent or uncertain in amount or not yet currently due and payable, the Trustee may create a cash reserve to pay for the liability. If the Trustee determines that the cash on hand and the cash to be received are insufficient to cover expenses or liabilities of the Royalty Trust, the Trustee may borrow funds required to pay those expenses or liabilities. The Trustee may borrow the funds from any person, including FCX or itself. The Trustee may also encumber the assets of the Royalty Trust (i.e., the overriding royalty interests) to secure payment of the indebtedness. If the Trustee, on behalf of the Royalty Trust, borrows funds, whether from FCX or from any other source, to cover expenses or liabilities, the Royalty Trust unitholders will not receive distributions until the borrowed funds are repaid. Since the Royalty Trust does not conduct an active business and the Trustee has little power to incur obligations, it is expected that the Royalty Trust will only incur liabilities for routine administrative expenses, such as the Trustee’s fees and accounting, engineering, legal, tax advisory and other professional fees.

The only assets of the Royalty Trust are the overriding royalty interests and the only investment activity the Trustee may engage in is the investment of cash on hand. Other than (a) its formation, (b) its receipt of contributions and loans from FCX for administrative and other expenses as provided for in the royalty trust agreement, (c) its payment of such administrative and other expenses, (d) its repayment of loans from FCX, (e) its receipt of the conveyance of the overriding royalty interests from McMoRan pursuant to the master conveyance, (f) its receipt of royalties from McMoRan and HOGA, and (g) its cash distributions to unitholders, if any, the Royalty Trust has not conducted any activities. The Trustee has no involvement with, control over, or responsibility for, any aspect of any operations on or relating to the subject interests.

The Trustee has the right to require any Royalty Trust unitholder to dispose of his royalty trust units if an administrative or judicial proceeding seeks to cancel or forfeit any of the property in which the Royalty Trust holds an interest because of the nationality or any other status of a Royalty Trust unitholder. If a Royalty Trust unitholder fails to dispose of his royalty trust units, FCX is obligated to purchase them (up to a cap of $1 million) at a price determined in accordance with a formula set forth in the royalty trust agreement.

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The Trustee is authorized to agree to modifications of the terms of the conveyances of the overriding royalty interests or to settle disputes involving such conveyances, so long as such modifications or settlements do not alter the nature of the overriding royalty interests as rights to receive a share of the proceeds from the underlying properties free of any obligation for drilling, development or operating expenses or rights that do not possess any operating rights or obligations.
    
Pursuant to the royalty trust agreement, FCX has agreed to pay annual trust expenses up to $350,000, with no right of repayment or interest due, to the extent the Royalty Trust lacks sufficient funds to pay administrative expenses. No such contributions were made during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019. In addition to such annual contributions, FCX has agreed to lend money, on an unsecured, interest-free basis, to the Royalty Trust to fund the Royalty Trust's ordinary administrative expenses as set forth in the royalty trust agreement. All funds the Trustee borrows to cover expenses or liabilities, whether from FCX or from any other source, must be repaid before the Royalty Trust unitholders will receive any distributions. No loans or repayments were made during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019.
Pursuant to the royalty trust agreement, FCX also agreed to provide and maintain a $1.0 million stand-by reserve account or an equivalent letter of credit for the benefit of the Royalty Trust to enable the Trustee to draw on such reserve account or letter of credit to pay obligations of the Royalty Trust if its funds are inadequate to pay its obligations at any time. Currently, with the consent of the Trustee, FCX may reduce the reserve account or substitute a letter of credit with a different face amount for the original letter of credit or any substitute letter of credit. In connection with this arrangement, FCX has provided $1.0 million in the form of a reserve fund cash account to the Royalty Trust. As of December 31, 2020, the Royalty Trust had not drawn any funds from the reserve account, and FCX had not requested a reduction of such reserve account.

Fiduciary Responsibility and Liability of the Trustee. The duties and liabilities of the Trustee are set forth in the royalty trust agreement and the laws of the State of Delaware. The Trustee may not make business decisions affecting the assets of the Royalty Trust. Therefore, substantially all of the Trustee’s functions under the royalty trust agreement are expected to be ministerial in nature. See the description in the section above entitled “Duties and Limited Powers of the Trustee.” The royalty trust agreement, however, provides that the Trustee may:

charge for its services as trustee;

retain funds to pay for future expenses and deposit them with one or more banks or financial institutions (which may include the Trustee to the extent permitted by law);

lend funds at commercial rates to the Royalty Trust to pay the Royalty Trust’s expenses (however, the Trustee does not intend to lend funds to the Royalty Trust); and

seek reimbursement from the Royalty Trust for its out-of-pocket expenses.

In performing its duties to Royalty Trust unitholders, the Trustee may act in its discretion and is liable to the Royalty Trust unitholders only for willful misconduct, bad faith or gross negligence. The Trustee is not liable for any act or omission of its agents or employees unless the Trustee acted with willful misconduct, bad faith or gross negligence in its selection and retention. The Trustee will be indemnified individually or as trustee out of the Royalty Trust's assets for any liability or cost that it incurs in the administration of the Royalty Trust, except in cases of willful misconduct, bad faith or gross negligence. The Trustee has a lien on the assets of the Royalty Trust as security for this indemnification and its compensation earned as trustee. The Royalty Trust unitholders are not liable to the Trustee for any indemnification. The Trustee ensures that all contractual liabilities of the Royalty Trust are limited to the assets of the Royalty Trust.

Protection of Trustee. Pursuant to the royalty trust agreement, the Trustee may request certification of any fact, circumstance, computation or other matter relevant to the Royalty Trust or the Trustee’s performance of its duties, and will be fully protected in relying on any such certification or other statement or advice from FCX or McMoRan or any officer or other employee of FCX or McMoRan. Any person having any claim against the Trustee by reason of the transactions contemplated by the royalty trust agreement or any of the related documents or agreements will look only to the Royalty Trust’s property for payment or satisfaction thereof.
Amendment of Trust Agreement. Amendments to the royalty trust agreement generally require the affirmative vote of holders of a majority of royalty trust units constituting a quorum, although less than a majority of the royalty trust
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units then outstanding (including any royalty trust units held by FCX and HOGA, other than with respect to matters where a conflict of interest between FCX or HOGA and unaffiliated Royalty Trust unitholders is present). However, any amendment that would permit holders of fewer than 66⅔% of the outstanding royalty trust units to (i) approve a sale of all or substantially all of the overriding royalty interests or (ii) terminate the Royalty Trust requires the affirmative vote of holders of 66⅔% or more of the outstanding royalty trust units held by persons other than HOGA or FCX or their respective affiliates.     
        
FCX and the Trustee are permitted to supplement or amend the royalty trust agreement, without the approval of the Royalty Trust unitholders, in order to cure any ambiguity, to correct or supplement any provision which may be defective or inconsistent with any other provision thereof, or to change the name of the Royalty Trust, as long as such supplement or amendment does not adversely affect the interests of the Royalty Trust unitholders. However, no amendment may:

alter the purposes of the Royalty Trust or permit the Trustee to engage in any business or investment activities other than as specified in the royalty trust agreement;

alter the rights of the Royalty Trust unitholders as among themselves;

permit the Trustee to distribute the overriding royalty interests in kind; or

adversely affect the rights and duties of the Trustee unless such amendment is approved by the Trustee.

Compensation of the Trustee. The Trustee’s annual compensation has been $200,000 since 2016, when it increased from $150,000 as a result of the Royalty Trust’s receipt of royalties related to production from the onshore Highlander subject interest beginning in the second quarter of 2015. Additionally, the Trustee receives reimbursement for its reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection with the administration of the Royalty Trust. In the event of litigation involving the Royalty Trust, audits or inspection of the records of the Royalty Trust pertaining to the transactions affecting the Royalty Trust or any other unusual or extraordinary services rendered in connection with the administration of the Royalty Trust, the Trustee would be entitled to receive additional reasonable compensation for the services rendered, including the payment of the Trustee’s standard rates for all time spent by personnel of the Trustee on such matters. The Trustee’s compensation is paid out of the Royalty Trust's assets. The Trustee has a lien on the Royalty Trust’s assets to secure payment of its compensation and any indemnification expenses and other amounts to which it is entitled under the royalty trust agreement.

Approval of Matters by Royalty Trust Unitholders. The Trustee or Royalty Trust unitholders owning at least 15% of the outstanding royalty trust units are permitted to call meetings of Royalty Trust unitholders. Meetings must be held in New York, New York. Written notice setting forth the time and place of the meeting and the matters proposed to be acted upon must be given to all Royalty Trust unitholders of record as of a record date set by the Trustee at least 20 days but not more than 60 days before the meeting. The presence in person or by proxy of Royalty Trust unitholders representing a majority of royalty trust units outstanding will constitute a quorum. Subject to the provisions of the royalty trust agreement regarding voting in the case of a material conflict of interest between FCX or its affiliates, and Royalty Trust unitholders other than FCX or its affiliates, each Royalty Trust unitholder will be entitled to one vote for each royalty trust unit owned.

Unless otherwise required by the royalty trust agreement, any matter (including unit splits or reverse splits) may be approved by the affirmative vote of holders of a majority of royalty trust units constituting a quorum, although less than a majority of the royalty trust units then outstanding (including any royalty trust units held by FCX and HOGA, other than with respect to matters where a conflict of interest between FCX or HOGA and unaffiliated Royalty Trust unitholders is present). The affirmative vote of the holders of 66⅔% of the outstanding royalty trust units will be required to (i) approve a sale of all or substantially all of the overriding royalty interests, (ii) terminate the Royalty Trust or (iii) amend the royalty trust agreement to permit the holders of fewer than 66⅔% of the outstanding royalty trust units to approve a sale of all or substantially all of the overriding royalty interests, or to terminate the Royalty Trust.
The Trustee may be removed, with or without cause, by the affirmative vote of holders of a majority of the outstanding royalty trust units.
Any action required or permitted to be authorized or taken at any meeting of Royalty Trust unitholders may be taken without a meeting, without prior notice and without a vote if a consent in writing setting forth the
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authorization or action taken is signed by Royalty Trust unitholders holding royalty trust units representing at least the minimum number of votes that would be necessary to authorize or take such action at a meeting.
If a meeting of Royalty Trust unitholders is called for any purpose or a written consent is executed at the request of any Royalty Trust unitholder while the Royalty Trust is subject to the requirements of Section 12 of the Exchange Act, the Royalty Trust unitholder requesting the meeting or soliciting the written consent will be required to prepare and file a proxy or information statement with the SEC regarding such meeting or written consent at its expense. The Royalty Trust unitholder requesting the meeting or written consent will bear the expense of distributing the notice of meeting and the proxy or information statement. The Trustee will be required only to provide a list of Royalty Trust unitholders to the extent required by law.

Duration of the Royalty Trust. The Royalty Trust will dissolve on the earliest to occur of (i) June 3, 2033, (ii) the sale of all of the overriding royalty interests, (iii) the election by the Trustee following its resignation for cause (as more fully described in the royalty trust agreement), (iv) a vote of the holders of 66⅔% or more of the outstanding royalty trust units held by persons other than FCX or any of its affiliates, at a duly called meeting of the Royalty Trust unitholders at which a quorum is present, or (v) the exercise by FCX of the right to call all of the royalty trust units as described in the next paragraph. The overriding royalty interests terminate upon the termination of the Royalty Trust, other than in certain limited circumstances where the Royalty Trust has been permitted to transfer the overriding royalty interests to a third party pursuant to the terms of the royalty trust agreement (in which case the overriding royalty interests may extend through June 3, 2033).

FCX Call Rights. FCX has a call right with respect to the outstanding royalty trust units at $10 per royalty trust unit. In addition, if the royalty trust units are then listed for trading or admitted for quotation on a national securities exchange or any quotation system and the volume weighted average price per royalty trust unit is equal to $0.25 or less for the immediately preceding consecutive nine-month period, FCX may purchase all, but not less than all, of the outstanding royalty trust units at a price of $0.25 per royalty trust unit so long as FCX tenders payment within 30 days following the end of such nine-month period.

Resignation of Trustee. The Trustee may resign, with or without cause, at any time by providing at least 60 days' notice to FCX and the Royalty Trust unitholders of record, but the resignation of the Trustee will not be effective until a successor trustee has accepted its appointment. The Trustee may nominate a successor trustee, which may be approved and appointed by FCX without a meeting or vote of the Royalty Trust unitholders. If the Trustee has given notice of resignation for cause and a successor trustee has not accepted its appointment as successor trustee during the 90-day period following FCX's receipt of such notice, the annual fee payable to the Trustee will be increased by 5% as of the end of such 90-day period, and will be further increased by 5% for each month or portion of a month thereafter (up to a maximum of two times the fee payable at the time the notice of resignation was received by FCX) until a successor trustee has accepted its appointment.

If at any time (a) the Trustee has not received compensation for its services or expenses or other amounts owed to the Trustee pursuant to the royalty trust agreement, (b) FCX has failed to fully fund a loan to the Royalty Trust in a reasonably timely manner after the Trustee has requested the loan pursuant to the royalty trust agreement or has failed to contribute funds to the Royalty Trust as required by the royalty trust agreement, (c) the Royalty Trust’s obligations exceed the amount of funds of the Royalty Trust available to pay such obligations, and (d) a stand-by reserve account or letter of credit is available to the Trustee as described in the royalty trust agreement, the Trustee is entitled to draw on the stand-by reserve account or letter of credit, then the Trustee would be permitted to resign for cause, and would be entitled to cause the sale of the overriding royalty interests and to dissolve, windup and terminate the Royalty Trust.

Overriding Royalty Interests. The royalty trust units represent beneficial interests in the Royalty Trust, which holds a 5% gross overriding royalty interest in future production from each of the subject interests during the life of the Royalty Trust. An “overriding” royalty interest in general represents a non-operating interest in an oil and gas property that provides the owner a specified share of production without any related operating expenses or development costs and is carved out of an oil and gas lessee's working or cost-bearing interest in the lease. In contrast, a “working” or “cost-bearing” interest in general represents an operating interest in an oil and gas property that provides the owner a specified share of production that is subject to all production expenses and development costs. An owner of a working or cost-bearing interest, subject to the terms of an applicable operating agreement, generally has the right to participate in the selection of a prospect, drilling location or drilling contractor; to propose the drilling of a well; to determine the timing and sequence of drilling operations; to commence or shut down production; to take over operations; or to share in any operating decision. An owner of an overriding royalty interest
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generally has none of the rights described in the preceding sentence, and neither the Royalty Trust nor the Royalty Trust unitholders has any such rights.

The Royalty Trust's 5% gross overriding royalty interest in future production from each subject interest is proportionately reduced based on McMoRan's or HOGA's respective working interest in the subject interest. The overriding royalty interests are free and clear of any and all drilling, development and operating costs and expenses, except that the overriding royalty interests bear a proportional share of costs incurred for activities downstream of the wellhead for gathering, transporting, compressing, treating, handling, separating, dehydrating or processing the produced hydrocarbons prior to their sale, and certain production, severance, sales, excise and similar taxes related to the sale of the produced hydrocarbons and property or ad valorem taxes to the extent assessed on the subject interests (the specified post-production costs and specified taxes, respectively). The hydrocarbons underlying the overriding royalty interests are valued at the wellhead (after deduction or withholding of specified taxes and less any specified post-production costs) and none of McMoRan, FCX or HOGA has any duty to transport or market the produced hydrocarbons away from the wellhead without cost. The hydrocarbons underlying the overriding royalty interests are subject to and bear production and similar taxes.

Royalty Trust Units. Each royalty trust unit represents a pro rata undivided share of beneficial ownership in the Royalty Trust. Each royalty trust unit entitles its holder to the same rights and benefits as the holder of any other royalty trust unit, and the Royalty Trust has no other authorized or outstanding class of equity security.
Distributions and Income Computations. Royalties received by the Royalty Trust must first be used to (i) satisfy Royalty Trust administrative expenses and (ii) reduce Royalty Trust indebtedness. The Royalty Trust had no indebtedness outstanding as of December 31, 2020. Additionally, the Trustee has established a minimum cash reserve of $250,000. As a result, distributions will be made to Royalty Trust unitholders only when royalties received less administrative expenses incurred and repayment of any indebtedness exceeds the $250,000 minimum cash reserve. Distributable income totaled $175,164 and $806,028 for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. On January 15, 2021, the Royalty Trust declared a cash distribution of $0.000310 per unit paid on February 12, 2021, to unitholders of record on January 29, 2021. These distributions are not necessarily indicative of future distributions. The Royalty Trust's only other sources of liquidity are mandatory annual contributions, any loans and the required standby reserve account or letter of credit from FCX. As a result, any material adverse change in FCX's or HOGA's financial condition or results of operations could materially and adversely affect the Royalty Trust and the underlying royalty trust units. Royalty Trust unitholders that own their royalty trust units on the close of business on the record date for each calendar quarter will receive a pro-rata distribution of the amount of the cash available for distribution generally 10 business days after the quarterly record date.
Unless otherwise advised by counsel or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Trustee will record the income and expenses of the Royalty Trust for each quarterly period as belonging to the Royalty Trust unitholders of record on the quarterly record date. The Royalty Trust unitholders will recognize income and expenses for tax purposes in the quarter of receipt or payment by the Royalty Trust, rather than in the quarter of distribution by the Royalty Trust. Minor variances may occur; for example, a reserve could be established in one quarterly period that would not give rise to a tax deduction until a later quarterly period, or an expenditure paid in one quarterly period might be amortized for tax purposes over several quarterly periods.
Transfer of the Royalty Trust Units. Royalty Trust unitholders are permitted to transfer their royalty trust units in accordance with the royalty trust agreement. The Trustee will not require either the transferor or transferee to pay a service charge for any transfer of a royalty trust unit. The Trustee may require payment of any tax or other governmental charge imposed for a transfer. The Trustee may treat the owner of any royalty trust unit as shown by its records as the owner of the royalty trust unit. The Trustee will not be considered to know about any claim or demand on a royalty trust unit by any party except the record owner. A person who acquires a royalty trust unit after any quarterly record date will not be entitled to the distribution relating to that quarterly record date. Delaware law and the royalty trust agreement govern all matters affecting the title, ownership or transfer of royalty trust units.
Periodic Reports. Within 45 days following the end of each of the first three fiscal quarters, and within 90 days following the end of each fiscal year, the Royalty Trust files a quarterly report on Form 10-Q, or annual report on Form 10-K, as appropriate, with the SEC.

The Royalty Trust files all required federal and state income tax and information returns. Within 75 days following the end of each fiscal year, the Royalty Trust prepares and mails to each Royalty Trust unitholder of record
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as of a quarterly record date during such year a report in reasonable detail with the information that Royalty Trust unitholders need to correctly report their share of the income and deductions of the Royalty Trust.

The terms of the royalty trust agreement require FCX or McMoRan to provide to the Royalty Trust such other information available to FCX or McMoRan concerning the overriding royalty interests and the subject interests burdened by the overriding royalty interests and related matters as may be necessary for the Royalty Trust to comply with its reporting obligations. In addition, the royalty trust agreement requires FCX or McMoRan to provide to the Royalty Trust all information required to comply with the requirements of the Exchange Act (including a “Trustee’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” relating to the Royalty Trust's financial statements) and such further information as may be required or reasonably requested by the Trustee from time to time. In connection with the completion of the Highlander Sale, HOGA assumed all administrative and reporting responsibilities with respect to the Royalty Trust, including those described in Article III of the royalty trust agreement.

Pursuant to the royalty trust agreement, the Royalty Trust and the Trustee are entitled to rely on the information provided without investigation and are fully protected and will incur no liability in doing so. None of FCX, McMoRan, HOGA or their respective affiliates may be required to disclose, produce or prepare any information, documents or other materials which were generated for analysis or discussion purposes, contain interpretative data, or are subject to the attorney-client or attorney-work-product privileges, or any other privileges to which they may be entitled pursuant to applicable law.

A Royalty Trust unitholder and his representatives may examine, during reasonable business hours and at the expense of such Royalty Trust unitholder, the records of the Royalty Trust and the Trustee.

Liability of the Royalty Trust Unitholders and the Royalty Trust. Under the Delaware Statutory Trust Act, Royalty Trust unitholders are entitled to the same limitation of personal liability extended to stockholders of private for-profit corporations under the Delaware General Corporation Law. Nevertheless, courts in jurisdictions outside of Delaware may not give effect to such limitation of personal liability.

Uncertificated Interests; Transfer Agent. The royalty trust units are uncertificated, and ownership of the royalty trust units is evidenced by entry of a notation in an ownership ledger maintained by the Trustee or a transfer agent designated by the Trustee. The transfer agent is American Stock Transfer & Trust Company, LLC. The Trustee may dismiss the transfer agent and designate a successor transfer agent at any time.

THE SUBJECT INTERESTS

The subject interests originally consisted of 20 specified Inboard Lower Tertiary/Cretaceous prospects (with target depths generally greater than 18,000 feet total vertical depth) located in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico and onshore in South Louisiana. The offshore subject interests consisted of the following exploration prospects: (1) Barataria; (2) Barbosa; (3) Blackbeard East; (4) Blackbeard West; (5) Blackbeard West #3; (6) Bonnet; (7) Calico Jack; (8) Captain Blood; (9) Davy Jones; (10) Davy Jones West; (11) Drake; (12) England; (13) Hook; (14) Hurricane; (15) Lafitte; (16) Morgan; and (17) Queen Anne's Revenge. The onshore subject interests consisted of (1) Highlander; (2) Lineham Creek; and (3) Tortuga.

As of December 31, 2020, only the onshore Highlander subject interest had established commercial production. On February 5, 2019, McMoRan completed the Highlander Sale. The onshore Highlander subject interest was sold subject to the overriding royalty interest in future production held by the Royalty Trust. As a result of the Highlander Sale, HOGA has a 72 percent working interest and an approximate 48 percent net revenue interest in the onshore Highlander subject interest. The Royalty Trust continues to hold a 3.6 percent overriding royalty interest in the onshore Highlander subject interest. McMoRan was the operator of the onshore Highlander subject interest through May 31, 2019. HOGA qualified and was designated as the operator on June 1, 2019. McMoRan has informed the Trustee that it has no plans to pursue, has relinquished, has allowed to expire or has sold all of its subject interests.

Exploratory and Development Drilling. McMoRan and HOGA did not drill any exploration or development wells on the subject interests during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019. Additionally, there were no in-progress or suspended wells associated with the subject interests during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019.

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Acreage. At December 31, 2020, HOGA owned interests in approximately 131 oil and gas leases onshore in South Louisiana, covering approximately 9,000 gross acres (6,476 acres net to HOGA's interests) associated with the onshore Highlander subject interest. McMoRan has informed the Trustee that it has no plans to pursue, has relinquished, has allowed to expire or has sold all of its subject interests.
            
The following table reflects the oil and gas acreage associated with the onshore Highlander subject interest in which HOGA owned rights to the related leases as of December 31, 2020.
Developed
Gross Net
Acres Acres
Onshore South Louisiana 9,000  6,476 
Total as of December 31, 2020
9,000  6,476 

Natural Gas Reserves. HOGA's estimated proved reserves related to the onshore Highlander subject interest are based upon a reserve report prepared by Netherland, Sewell & Associates, Inc. (NSAI), an independent petroleum engineering firm. A copy of NSAI's reserve report is filed as an exhibit to this Form 10-K. These reserve estimates are prepared in accordance with guidelines established by the SEC as prescribed by Regulation S-X, Rule 4-10. HOGA estimates, with reasonable certainty, the economically producible natural gas associated with the subject interests. The practices for estimating hydrocarbons in place include, but are not limited to, mapping, seismic interpretation of two-dimensional and/or three-dimensional data, core analysis, mechanical properties of formations, thermal maturity, well logs of existing penetrations, correlation of known penetrations, decline curve analysis of producing locations with significant production history, well testing, static bottom hole testing, flowing bottom hole pressure analysis and pressure and rate transient analysis.

Internal Control and Qualifications of Third Party Engineers and Internal Staff. John R. Cliver and Shane M. Howell are the technical personnel responsible for preparing the 2020 Gulf Coast Ultra Deep Royalty Trust reserve estimates at NSAI and meet the requirements regarding qualifications, independence, objectivity, and confidentiality set forth in the Standards Pertaining to the Estimating and Auditing of Oil and Gas Reserves Information promulgated by the Society of Petroleum Engineers. John R. Cliver is a Licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Texas, has been practicing consulting petroleum engineering at NSAI since 2009 and has over 5 years of prior industry experience. Shane M. Howell, a Licensed Professional Geoscientist in the State of Texas, has been practicing consulting petroleum geoscience at NSAI since 2005 and has over 7 years of prior industry experience. NSAI is an independent firm of petroleum engineers, geologists, geophysicists, and petrophysicists; the firm does not own an interest in HOGA's properties and is not employed on a contingent fee basis. HOGA works closely with NSAI independent reserve engineers to ensure the integrity, accuracy and timeliness of data furnished to NSAI in their reserve estimation process. HOGA provides historical information to NSAI, including ownership interest, natural gas production, well test data, commodity prices and operating and development costs.

HOGA’s Vice President & General Manager is a Licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Texas and has 34 years of technical experience in petroleum engineering and reservoir evaluation and analysis. This individual is the technical person primarily responsible for overseeing the internal reserves estimation process and providing the appropriate data to NSAI for the year-end natural gas reserves estimation process. The preparation of proved natural gas reserve estimates are completed in accordance with HOGA's internal control procedures. These procedures, which are intended to ensure reliability of reserve estimations, include (i) the review and verification of historical production data, (ii) the review by HOGA’s management of annually reported proved reserves, including the review of significant reserve changes and new proved undeveloped reserves additions, if any, (iii) the verification of property ownership; and (iv) none of HOGA's employee’s compensation being tied to the amount of reserves reported.

Proved Reserves. Proved reserve volumes attributable to the subject interests have been determined in accordance with SEC guidelines, which require the use of an average price, calculated as the twelve-month historical average of the first-day-of-the-month historical reference price as adjusted for location and quality differentials. The adjusted gas price used in HOGA's reserve report as of December 31, 2020, was $1.95 per Mcf of natural gas. The price is held constant throughout the life of the property, except where such guidelines permit alternate treatment, including the use of fixed and determinable contractual escalations. All of the natural gas reserves attributable to the subject interests are located in the U.S. There were no oil reserves as of December 31, 2020.
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The scope and results of procedures employed by NSAI are summarized in their reserve report. For purposes of reserve estimation, HOGA and NSAI use technical and economic data including well logs, geologic maps, seismic data, well test data, production data, historical price and cost information, and property ownership interests. HOGA's reserves have been estimated using deterministic methods. Standard engineering and geoscience methods were used, or a combination of methods, including performance analysis, volumetric analysis and analogy, which HOGA and NSAI considered to be appropriate and necessary to categorize and estimate reserves in accordance with SEC definitions and regulations. Because these estimates depend on many assumptions, any or all of which may differ substantially from actual results, reserve estimates may differ from the quantities of natural gas that HOGA ultimately recovers.
        
Proved reserves represent quantities of natural gas, which, by analysis of geoscience and engineering data, can be estimated with reasonable certainty to be economically producible—from a given date forward, from known reservoirs, and under existing economic conditions, operating methods, and government regulations—prior to the time at which contracts providing the right to operate expire, unless evidence indicates that renewal is reasonably certain, regardless of whether deterministic or probabilistic methods are used for the estimation. The project to extract the hydrocarbons must have commenced or the operator must be reasonably certain that it will commence the project within a reasonable time. The following table presents estimated proved reserves attributable to the subject interests as of December 31, 2020:
Natural Gas
(MMcf)
Proved developed 1,523 
Proved undeveloped — 
Total proved reserves 1,523 
        
The following table reflects the present value of estimated future net cash flows before income taxes from the production and sale of estimated proved reserves attributable to the subject interests reconciled to the standardized measure of discounted net cash flows (standardized measure) at December 31, 2020.
Estimated undiscounted future net cash flows before income taxes
$ 2,206,100 
Present value of estimated future net cash flows before income taxes (PV-10) (a)
1,807,300 
Discounted future income taxes (b)
— 
Standardized measure (See Note 9)
$ 1,807,300 
(a)     The present value of estimated future net cash flows before income taxes (PV-10) is not considered a U.S. generally accepted accounting principle (GAAP) financial measure. The Royalty Trust believes that the PV-10 presentation is relevant and useful to its investors because it presents the discounted future net cash flows attributable to the subject interest's proved reserves. PV-10 is not a measure of financial or operating performance under GAAP and is not intended to represent the current market value of our estimated natural gas reserves. PV-10 should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for the standardized measure of discounted future net cash flows as defined under GAAP. See Note 9 to the Notes to Financial Statements located in Part II, Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this Form 10-K.
(b)    For tax reporting purposes, the Royalty Trust is considered a non-taxable “pass-through” entity, see Note 4 to the Notes to Financial Statements located in Part II, Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this Form 10-K.

    Refer to Note 9 to the Notes to Financial Statements located in Part II, Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this Form 10-K for further discussion of proved reserves.

Production and Productive Well Interests. As of December 31, 2020, only the onshore Highlander subject interest had established commercial production, which began on February 25, 2015. Prior to this date there had been no commercial production of hydrocarbons from any of the subject interests. During the year ended December 31, 2020, the Royalty Trust received royalties of $790,465 from HOGA related to 515,278 Mcf of natural gas production attributable to the onshore Highlander subject interest with average post-production costs of $0.34 per Mcf and an average receipt price of $1.88 per Mcf. During the year ended December 31, 2019, the Royalty Trust received royalties of $1,386,064 from HOGA and McMoRan related to 582,484 Mcf of natural gas production
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attributable to the onshore Highlander subject interest with average post-production costs of $0.33 per Mcf and an average receipt price of $2.71 per Mcf.

REGULATION

Although the Royalty Trust is not responsible for the activities, expenses, and obligations discussed in this section, such matters relate to HOGA's activities with respect to the subject interests.

General. HOGA's exploration, development and production activities are subject to federal, state and local laws and regulations governing exploration, development, production, environmental matters, occupational health and safety, taxes, labor standards and other matters. HOGA has obtained or timely applied for all material licenses, permits and other authorizations currently required for operations. Compliance is often burdensome, and failure to comply carries substantial penalties. The regulatory burden on the oil and gas industry increases the cost of doing business and affects profitability.

Exploration, Production and Development. Among other things, federal and state level regulation of HOGA's operations mandate that operators obtain permits to drill wells and to meet bonding and insurance requirements in order to drill, own or operate wells. These regulations also control the location of wells, the method of drilling and casing wells, the restoration of properties upon which wells are drilled and the plugging and abandoning of wells. HOGA's oil and natural gas operations are also subject to various conservation laws and regulations, which regulate the size of drilling units, the number of wells that may be drilled in a given area, the levels of production, and the unitization or pooling of oil and natural gas properties.

State and Local Regulation of Drilling and Production.  HOGA owns interests in properties located in state waters of Louisiana and/or onshore in South Louisiana. Louisiana regulates drilling and operating activities by requiring, among other things, drilling permits and bonds and reports concerning operations. The laws of Louisiana also govern a number of environmental and conservation matters, including the handling and disposing of waste materials, unitization and pooling of oil and natural gas properties, and the levels of production from oil and natural gas wells.

On February 5, 2019, McMoRan completed the the Highlander Sale. The onshore Highlander subject interest was sold subject to the overriding royalty interest in future production held by the Royalty Trust. As a result of the Highlander Sale, HOGA has a 72 percent working interest and an approximate 48 percent net revenue interest in the onshore Highlander subject interest. The Royalty Trust continues to hold a 3.6 percent overriding royalty interest in the onshore Highlander subject interest. McMoRan was the operator of the onshore Highlander subject interest through May 31, 2019. HOGA qualified and was designated as the operator on June 1, 2019. McMoRan has informed the Trustee that it has no plans to pursue, has relinquished, has allowed to expire or has sold all of its subject interests. To the extent that HOGA does not fund the exploration and development of the onshore Highlander subject interest, or if for any other reason sufficient production from the onshore Highlander subject interest is not maintained in commercial quantities, Royalty Trust unitholders will not realize any additional value from their investment in the royalty trust units.

Environmental Matters. HOGA's operations are subject to numerous laws relating to environmental protection. These laws impose substantial penalties for any pollution resulting from HOGA's operations. The Trustee has been advised by HOGA that HOGA believes that its operations comply with applicable laws, including environmental laws, in all material respects.

Solid Waste.  HOGA's operations require the disposal of both hazardous and non-hazardous solid wastes that are subject to the requirements of the Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and comparable state statutes. Drilling fluids, produced waters and other wastes associated with the exploration, production and/or development of oil and natural gas, including naturally occurring radioactive material, if properly handled, are currently excluded from regulation as hazardous wastes under RCRA and, instead, are regulated under RCRA’s less stringent non-hazardous waste requirements. Nevertheless, it is possible that these wastes could be classified as hazardous wastes in the future. For example, in December 2016, the EPA and environmental groups entered into a consent decree to address the EPA’s alleged failure to timely assess its RCRA Subtitle D criteria regulations exempting certain exploration and production-related oil and natural gas wastes from regulation as hazardous wastes under RCRA. The consent decree required the EPA to propose a rulemaking no later than March 15, 2019 for revision of certain Subtitle D criteria regulations pertaining to oil and natural gas wastes or to sign a determination that revision of the regulations is not necessary. The EPA fulfilled its obligation under the consent
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decree by issuing a determination on April 23, 2019 that revisions to existing RCRA Subtitle D regulations governing oil and natural gas wastes are not necessary, along with a report supporting that determination.

Hazardous Substances.  The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as the “Superfund” law, imposes liability, without regard to fault or the legality of the original conduct, on some classes of persons that are considered to have contributed to the release of a “hazardous substance” into the environment. These persons include but are not limited to the owner or operator of the site or sites where the release occurred or was threatened to occur and companies that disposed or arranged for the disposal of the hazardous substances found at the site. Persons responsible for releases of hazardous substances under CERCLA may be subject to joint and several liability for the costs of cleaning up the hazardous substances and for damages to natural resources. Despite the RCRA exemption that encompasses wastes directly associated with crude oil and gas production and the “petroleum exclusion” of CERCLA, HOGA may generate or arrange for the disposal of “hazardous substances” within the meaning of CERCLA or comparable state statutes in the course of its ordinary operations. Thus, HOGA may be responsible under CERCLA (or the state equivalents) for costs required to clean up sites where the release of a “hazardous substance” has occurred. Also, it is not uncommon for neighboring landowners and other third parties to file claims for cleanup costs as well as personal injury and property damage allegedly caused by the hazardous substances released into the environment. Thus, HOGA may be subject to cost recovery and other claims as a result of operations.

Air and Climate Change.  The Clean Air Act (“CAA”), as amended, and comparable state laws and regulations restrict the emission of air pollutants from many sources and also impose various monitoring and reporting requirements. These laws and regulations may require HOGA to obtain pre‑approval for the construction or modification of certain projects or facilities expected to produce or significantly increase air emissions, and to comply with stringent air permit or regulatory requirements or utilize specific equipment or technologies to control emissions.

The threat of climate change continues to attract considerable attention globally. In the United States, no comprehensive climate change legislation has been implemented at the federal level. However, following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (the “EPA”) determination that emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases (“GHG”) present an endangerment to public health and welfare in December 2009, the EPA adopted regulations in 2011 to regulate GHG emissions from certain large stationary sources, require the monitoring and reporting of GHG emissions from certain sources, and (together with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), implement GHG emissions limits on vehicles manufactured for operation in the United States, among other things. President Biden has highlighted addressing climate change as a priority of his administration, and federal regulators, state and local governments, and private parties have taken (or announced that they plan to take) actions that have or may have a significant influence on HOGA’s operations. The Biden Administration has also issued several executive orders that have, among others, recommitted the United States to the Paris Agreement, called for a government-wide approach to addressing climate change, and called for the reinstatement or issuance of methane emissions standards for new, modified, and existing oil and gas facilities. Additional climate-related regulations have been passed by several states, and additional laws may be implemented at the federal, state, or local levels. Please see Part I, Item 1A. “Risk Factors” of this Form 10-K for further discussion of risks related to climate change and the regulation of methane emissions and GHGs.

Separately, the EPA finalized a more stringent National Ambient Air Quality Standard (“NAAQS”) for ozone in October 2015 and completed attainment/nonattainment designations in 2018. In addition, on January 20, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order calling on the EPA to propose a Federal Implementation Plan for the ozone standard for certain states by January 2022, in response to those states’ failure to submit an adequate state plan for the control of ozone precursor emissions from certain oil and gas sources. State or federal implementation of the revised NAAQs in the areas in which HOGA operates could result in increased costs for emission controls and requirements for additional monitoring and testing, as well as a more cumbersome permitting process. Failure to comply with air quality regulations may also result in administrative, civil, and/or criminal penalties for non-compliance.

Water.  The Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) and analogous state laws and implementing regulations impose restrictions and strict controls regarding the discharge of pollutants into waters of the U.S. and waters of the states, respectively. Pursuant to these laws and regulations, the discharge of pollutants to regulated waters is prohibited unless it is permitted by the EPA, an analogous state or tribal agency, or both. HOGA does not presently discharge pollutants associated with the exploration, development and production of oil and natural gas on the onshore Highlander subject interest into federal or state waters. HOGA operates under the Louisiana Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (LPDES) General Permit for Discharges from Oil & Gas Exploration, Development, and
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Production facilities Located within Coastal Waters of Louisiana (LAG330000) issued by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality in accordance with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) provisions of the CWA.

The discharge of dredge and fill material in regulated waters, including wetlands, is also prohibited, unless authorized by a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE). CWA Section 401 provides that the applicant for an individual National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to be issued by the EPA or an individual Section 404 permit to be issued by the ACE must notify the state in which the discharge will occur and provide an opportunity for the state to determine if the discharge will comply with the state’s approved water quality program. In some instances, this process could result in delay in issuance of the permit, more stringent permit requirements, or denial of the permit.

How the EPA and the ACE define “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) can impact HOGA’s regulatory and permitting obligations under the CWA. In September 2015, the EPA and the ACE issued new rules defining the scope of the EPA’s and the ACE’s jurisdiction under the CWA with respect to certain types of waterbodies and classifying these waterbodies as regulated wetlands. However, following the change in presidential administrations, there have been several attempts to modify this rule. For example, on January 23, 2020, the EPA and the ACE finalized the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which narrows the definition of “waters of the United States” relative to the prior 2015 rulemaking. Legal challenges to the definition of WOTUS are ongoing, and the Biden Administration may propose a new interpretation of WOTUS. To the extent that HOGA must obtain permits for the discharge of pollutants or for dredge and fill activities in wetland areas or other waters of the United States, HOGA could face increased costs and delays associated with obtaining such permits under any broader definition of WOTUS that expands the scope of CWA jurisdiction.

Similarly, the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (Oil Pollution Act) imposes liability on “responsible parties” for the discharge or substantial threat of discharge of oil into navigable waters or adjoining shorelines. A “responsible party” includes the owner or operator of a facility or vessel, or the lessee or permittee of the area in which a facility is located. The Oil Pollution Act assigns liability to each responsible party for oil removal costs and a variety of public and private damages. While liability limits apply in some circumstances, a party cannot take advantage of liability limits if the spill was caused by gross negligence or willful misconduct, or resulted from violation of a federal safety, construction or operating regulation. If the party fails to report a spill or to cooperate fully in the cleanup, liability limits likewise do not apply. Few defenses exist to the liability imposed by the Oil Pollution Act. The Oil Pollution Act also requires a responsible party to submit proof of its financial responsibility to cover environmental cleanup and restoration costs that could be incurred in connection with an oil spill.

Endangered Species.  The federal Endangered Species Act and similar state statutes impose regulations designed to ensure that endangered or threatened plant and animal species are not jeopardized, and their critical habitats are neither destroyed nor modified by federal action. These laws may restrict HOGA's exploration, development, and production operations and impose civil or criminal penalties for noncompliance.

EMPLOYEES

The Royalty Trust is a passive entity and has no employees. All administrative functions of the Royalty Trust are performed by the Trustee and HOGA.

COMPETITION

The production and sale of oil and natural gas onshore in South Louisiana is highly competitive, particularly with respect to hiring and retention of technical personnel, the acquisition of leases, interests and other properties, and access to drilling rigs and other services in such areas. HOGA's competitors in these areas include major integrated oil and gas companies and numerous independent oil and gas companies, individual producers and operators.

Oil and natural gas compete with other forms of energy available to customers, primarily based on price. These alternate forms of energy include electricity, coal and fuel oils. Changes in the availability or price of oil, natural gas or other forms of energy, as well as business conditions, conservation, legislation, regulations and the ability to convert to alternate fuels and other forms of energy may affect the demand for oil and natural gas.
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Additionally, future price fluctuations for natural gas will directly affect the amount of distributions to Royalty Trust unitholders and will also affect estimates of reserves attributable to the overriding royalty interests and estimated and actual future net revenues of the Royalty Trust. Neither HOGA nor the Royalty Trust can make reliable predictions of future natural gas supply and demand or future product prices. For more information regarding risks associated with natural gas production and commodity price fluctuations, see Part I, Item 1A. “Risk Factors” of this Form 10-K.
SEASONALITY

All of the Royalty Trust’s assets are located in the U.S., where demand for natural gas is typically lower in summer than in winter. Tropical storms and hurricanes, which are particularly common in South Louisiana during the summer and early fall of each year, can damage or completely destroy drilling, production and treatment facilities, which can result in the interruption or permanent cessation of production from associated wells. The Royalty Trust is not otherwise materially affected by seasonal factors.
TAX CONSIDERATIONS

The following is a summary of certain U.S. federal income tax matters that may be relevant to the Royalty Trust unitholders. This summary is based upon current provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the Code), existing and proposed Treasury regulations thereunder and current administrative rulings and court decisions, all of which are subject to changes that may or may not be retroactively applied. No attempt has been made in the following summary to comment on all U.S. federal income tax matters affecting the Royalty Trust or the Royalty Trust unitholders.
The summary has limited application to non-U.S. persons and persons subject to special tax treatment such as, without limitation: banks, insurance companies or other financial institutions; Royalty Trust unitholders subject to the alternative minimum tax; tax-exempt organizations; dealers in securities or commodities; regulated investment companies; real estate investment trusts; traders in securities that elect to use a mark-to-market method of accounting for their securities holdings; non-U.S. Royalty Trust unitholders that are “controlled foreign corporations” or “passive foreign investment companies”; persons that are S-corporations, partnerships or other pass-through entities; persons that own their interest in the Royalty Trust Units through S-corporations, partnerships or other pass-through entities; persons that at any time own more than 5% of the aggregate fair market value of the Royalty Trust Units; expatriates and certain former citizens or long-term residents of the U.S.; U.S. Royalty Trust unitholders whose functional currency is not the U.S. dollar; persons who hold the Royalty Trust Units as a position in a hedging transaction, “straddle”, “conversion transaction” or other risk reduction transaction; or persons deemed to sell the Royalty Trust Units under the constructive sale provisions of the Code. Each Royalty Trust unitholder should consult his own tax advisor with respect to his particular circumstances.
Tax counsel to the special committee of the board of directors of MMR advised the Royalty Trust at the time of formation that, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, in its opinion, the Royalty Trust would be treated as a grantor trust and not as an unincorporated business entity. No ruling has been or will be requested from the IRS or another taxing authority.

Royalty Trust unitholders should consult their own tax advisors regarding the treatment of the income, gain, loss or deduction derived by the unitholder for the Royalty Trust.

The income of the Royalty Trust consists primarily of royalties equal to a specified share of the proceeds of oil and gas produced from exploration prospects. The deductions of the Royalty Trust consist of administrative expenses. Each Royalty Trust unitholder is entitled to depletion deductions because the royalties are expected to constitute “economic interests” in oil and gas properties for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The rules with respect to the depletion allowance are complex and must be computed separately by each Royalty Trust unitholder and not by the Royalty Trust. Royalty Trust unitholders should consult their own tax advisors regarding the availability of depletion deductions.
If a taxpayer disposes of any “Section 1254 property” (certain oil, gas, geothermal or other mineral property), and if the adjusted basis of such property includes adjustments for deductions for depletion under Section 611 of the Code, the taxpayer generally must recapture the amount deducted for depletion as ordinary income (to the extent of gain realized on such disposition).
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The classification of the Trust’s income for purposes of the passive loss rules may be important to a Royalty Trust unitholder. Royalty income generally is treated as portfolio income and does not offset passive losses. Therefore, in general, Royalty Trust unitholders should not consider the taxable income from the Trust to be passive income in determining net passive income or loss.
The highest marginal U.S. federal income tax rate applicable to ordinary income of individuals is 37%, and the highest marginal U.S. federal income tax rate applicable to long-term capital gains (generally, gains from the sale or exchange of certain investment assets held for more than one year) and qualified dividends of individuals is 20%. The highest marginal U.S. federal income tax rate applicable to corporations is 21%, and such rate applies to both ordinary income and capital gains.
Section 1411 of the Code imposes a 3.8% Medicare tax on certain investment income earned by individuals, estates, and trusts. For these purposes, investment income generally will include a Royalty Trust unitholder’s allocable share of the Royalty Trust’s interest and royalty income plus the gain recognized from a sale of Royalty Trust units. In the case of an individual, the tax is imposed on the lesser of (i) the individual’s net investment income from all investments, or (ii) the amount by which the individual’s modified adjusted gross income exceeds specified threshold levels depending on such individual’s U.S. federal income tax filing status. In the case of an estate or trust, the tax is imposed on the lesser of (i) undistributed net investment income, or (ii) the excess adjusted gross income over the dollar amount at which the highest income tax bracket applicable to an estate or trust begins. The tax consequences to a Royalty Trust unitholder of the acquisition, ownership or disposition of units will depend in part on the Royalty Trust unitholder’s tax circumstances. Royalty Trust unitholders should consult their tax advisors regarding the U.S. federal income tax consequences relating to acquiring, owning or disposing the Royalty Trust units.

As a grantor trust, the Royalty Trust is not subject to tax at the Royalty Trust level. Rather, the Royalty Trust unitholders are considered to own and receive the Royalty Trust's assets and income and are directly taxable thereon as though no trust were in existence. Under Treasury Regulations, the Royalty Trust is classified as a widely held fixed investment trust. Pursuant to a de minimis test provided for in the Treasury Regulations, the Royalty Trust is only required to report the amount of sales proceeds distributed to a Royalty Trust unitholder during the year with respect to a sale or disposition of a trust asset. In addition, the Treasury Regulations require the sharing of tax information among trustees and intermediaries that hold a trust interest on behalf of or for the account of a beneficial owner or any representative or agent of a trust interest holder of fixed investment trusts that are classified as widely held fixed investment trusts.

The widely held fixed investment trust reporting requirements provide for the dissemination of trust tax information by the trustee to intermediaries who are ultimately responsible for reporting the investor-specific information through Form 1099 to the investors and the IRS. Every trustee or intermediary that is required to file a Form 1099 for a Royalty Trust unitholder must furnish a written tax information statement that is in support of the amounts as reported on the applicable Form 1099 to the Royalty Trust unitholder. In compliance with the reporting requirements of the Treasury Regulations for non-mortgage widely held fixed investment trusts and the dissemination of Royalty Trust tax reporting information, the Trustee provides a generic tax information reporting booklet which is intended to be used only to assist Royalty Trust unitholders in the preparation of their 2020 U.S. federal and state income tax returns. This tax information booklet can be obtained at https://gultu.q4web.com/tax-information/default.aspx. Any generic tax information provided by the Trustee is intended to be used only to assist Royalty Trust unitholders in the preparation of their U.S. federal and state income tax returns.

If the Royalty Trust were classified as a business entity, it would be taxable as a partnership unless it failed to meet certain qualifying income tests applicable to “publicly traded partnerships.” The income of the Royalty Trust is expected to meet such qualifying income tests. As a result, even if the Royalty Trust were considered to be a publicly traded partnership it should not be taxable as a corporation. The principal tax consequence of the Royalty Trust's possible categorization as a partnership rather than a grantor trust is that all Royalty Trust unitholders would be required to report their share of taxable income from the Royalty Trust on the accrual method of accounting regardless of their own method of accounting. As a result, the Royalty Trust's tax reporting requirements would be more complex and costlier to implement and maintain, and any distributions to Royalty Trust unitholders could be reduced as a result.

The Royalty Trust owns an overriding royalty interest burdening the subject interests, which are located in Louisiana and in U.S. federal waters offshore Louisiana. Tax counsel to the special committee of the board of directors of MMR advised the Royalty Trust at its formation that the Royalty Trust will be treated as a grantor trust and not as an unincorporated business entity for U.S. federal income tax purposes. If the Royalty Trust is treated as
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a grantor trust for U.S. federal income tax purposes, it would also be treated as a grantor trust for Louisiana income tax purposes. As a grantor trust, the Royalty Trust would not be subject to Louisiana income tax at the Royalty Trust level. Rather, for Louisiana individual income tax purposes, the Royalty Trust unitholders would be considered to own and receive the Royalty Trust’s assets and income and will be directly taxable thereon as though no trust were in existence. Consequently, individual Royalty Trust unitholders may be subject to Louisiana individual income tax on all or a portion of their shares of any Royalty Trust income. Individual Royalty Trust unitholders who are legal residents of Louisiana will be subject to Louisiana individual income tax on all of their shares of any Royalty Trust income. Individual Royalty Trust unitholders who are not legal residents of Louisiana generally will be subject to Louisiana individual income tax only on the portion of their shares of any Royalty Trust income that is sourced to Louisiana. For Louisiana individual income tax purposes, royalties from mineral properties are specifically sourced to the state where such property is located at the time the income is derived.
Individual Royalty Trust unitholders who are required to file Louisiana individual income tax returns and pay Louisiana individual income tax on all or a portion of their proportionate shares of any Royalty Trust income may be subject to penalties for failure to comply with such requirements. The highest marginal rates for the payment of Louisiana income taxes are 6% for individuals, trusts and estates, and 8% for corporations. Individual taxpayers are allowed a deduction for depletion in Louisiana. As of July 1, 2018, the depletion allowance available under Louisiana law is 22% of the gross income from an applicable mineral property during the tax year. Louisiana currently does not require the Royalty Trust to withhold Louisiana individual income taxes from distributions made to non-resident Royalty Trust unitholders if the Royalty Trust is treated as a grantor trust for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Individual Royalty Trust unitholders who are legal residents of a state other than Louisiana may be subject to state and local individual income taxes, if any, in their states of residence on their receipt of any income from the Royalty Trust.
Royalty Trust unitholders should consult their tax advisors as to the specific tax consequences of the ownership and disposition of the royalty trust units, including the applicability and effect of U.S. federal, state, local and foreign income and other tax laws in light of their particular circumstances.
WHERE YOU CAN FIND OTHER INFORMATION

The Royalty Trust maintains a website at http://gultu.q4web.com/home/default.aspx. The Royalty Trust’s filings under the Exchange Act are available through its website and are also available electronically from the website maintained by the SEC at http://www.sec.gov. In addition, the Royalty Trust will provide electronic and paper copies of its recent filings free of charge upon request to the Trustee.
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Item 1A. Risk Factors
    
This Form 10-K contains “forward-looking statements.” Please refer to the section above entitled “Forward-Looking Statements” for more information.

Risks Related to the Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic

The global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted and will likely continue to impact the Royalty Trust, and could materially reduce proceeds to the Royalty Trust and distributions to Royalty Trust unitholders.

Since the beginning of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has spread across the globe and disrupted economies around the world, including the oil, natural gas and NGL industry. The rapid spread of the virus has led to the implementation of various responses, including federal, state and local government-imposed quarantines, shelter-in-place mandates, sweeping restrictions on travel, and other public health and safety measures, nearly all of which have materially reduced global demand for crude oil and natural gas. The extent to which the global COVID-19 pandemic will continue to affect the Royalty Trust's business, financial condition, liquidity, results of operations, and the demand for HOGA's production will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with confidence, including the duration or any recurrence of the outbreak and responsive measures, additional or modified government actions, new information which may emerge concerning the severity of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the effectiveness of actions taken to contain the coronavirus or treat its impact now or in the future, among others.

Some impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic that could have an adverse effect on the Royalty Trust's business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations, include, but are not limited to:

significantly reduced prices for gas production, resulting from a world-wide decrease in demand for hydrocarbons;
further decreases in the demand for gas production, resulting from significantly decreased levels of global, regional and local travel as a result of federal, state and local government-imposed quarantines, including shelter-in-place mandates, enacted to slow the spread of the virus;
increased operational difficulties associated with, or an inability to, deliver gas to end-markets, resulting from pipeline and storage constraints;
the potential for loss of leasehold or asset value for failure to produce gas in paying quantities as a result of significantly lower commodity prices, or other factors related to the misalignment of supply and demand;
increased third-party credit risk, including the risk that counterparties may not accept the delivery of gas production, resulting from adverse market conditions, a lack of access to capital and storage, and the failure of certain counterparties to continue as going concerns;
increased likelihood that counterparties to existing agreements may seek to invoke force majeure provisions to avoid the performance of contractual obligations, resulting from significantly adverse market conditions;
increased costs and staffing requirements related to social distancing measures or other best practices implemented in connection with federal, state or local government, and voluntarily imposed quarantines or other regulations or guidelines concerning physical gatherings; and
increased legal and operational costs related to compliance with significant changes in federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

Royalties that the Royalty Trust receives from its share of production will be reduced as a result of lower natural gas prices. As a result, future distributions from the Royalty Trust to its unitholders could be reduced or discontinued. In addition, lower oil and natural gas prices reduce the likelihood that the subject interests will be developed or that any oil or natural gas discovered will be economic to produce. The volatility of energy prices reduces the accuracy of estimates of future cash distributions to the Royalty Trust unitholders and could affect the value of the royalty trust units. During the year ended December 31, 2020, benchmark prices for oil and natural gas were significantly depressed, which resulted in a decrease in royalties received by the Royalty Trust and corresponding distributions to the Royalty Trust unitholders in 2020. To the extent the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to adversely affect the global economy, and/or adversely affects the Royalty Trust's business, financial condition, liquidity, or results of operations, it may also have the effect of increasing the likelihood and/or magnitude
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of other risks, including those risks related to market, credit, geopolitical and business operations, or risks described in the Royalty Trust's other filings with the SEC. In addition, the global COVID-19 pandemic, or any recurrence of the outbreak of COVID-19, may also affect proceeds to the Royalty Trust or distributions to Royalty Trust untiholders in a manner that is not presently known to the Royalty Trust or that the Royalty Trust currently does not expect to present a significant risk to proceeds to the Royalty Trust or distributions to Royalty Trust unitholders. Any such future developments are dependent upon factors including, but are not limited to, the duration and spread of the outbreak, its severity, any recurrence of the outbreak, the actions to contain the virus or treat its impact, the size and effectiveness of the compensating measures taken by governments, and how quickly and to what extent normal economic and operating conditions can resume.

Risks Related to Operations

The value of the royalty trust units is uncertain. The onshore Highlander subject interest is the only subject interest that has established commercial production.
The Royalty Trust's only assets and sources of income are the overriding royalty interests burdening the subject interests. The overriding royalty interests entitle the Royalty Trust to receive a portion of the proceeds derived from the sale of hydrocarbons associated with the subject interests, if any. Other than the onshore Highlander subject interest, whose well began commercial production on February 25, 2015, the subject interests remain “exploration concepts.” As McMoRan reported to the Trustee, McMoRan has no plans to pursue, has relinquished, has allowed to expire or has sold all of its subject interests.

The Royalty Trust has no ability to direct or influence the exploration or development of the subject interests. In addition, none of FCX, McMoRan or HOGA is under any obligation to fund or to commit any resources to the exploration or development of the subject interests.

To the extent that HOGA does not fund the exploration and development of the onshore subject interests, or if for any other reason sufficient production from the subject interests is not maintained in commercial quantities, Royalty Trust unitholders will not realize any additional value from their investment in the royalty trust units.

Future Royalty Trust distributions are uncertain because the Royalty Trust does not control the operations of the subject interests and any royalties received must exceed administrative expenses, any indebtedness and a minimum cash requirement.

The Royalty Trust has no control over the operations of the subject interests, which are necessary to generate any royalties to be distributed to the unitholders. In addition, any royalties received by the Royalty Trust must first be used to (i) satisfy Royalty Trust administrative expenses and (ii) reduce Royalty Trust indebtedness. Lastly, the Trustee has established a minimum cash reserve of $250,000. As a result, distributions will be made to Royalty Trust unitholders only when royalties received less administrative expenses incurred and repayment of all indebtedness exceeds the $250,000 minimum cash reserve.

Even though distributions were paid to Royalty Trust unitholders in 2019, 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, distributions may not necessarily be made in the future. The Royalty Trust's only other sources of liquidity are mandatory annual contributions, any loans and the required standby reserve account or letter of credit from FCX. As a result, any material adverse change in FCX's or HOGA's financial condition or results of operations could materially and adversely affect the Royalty Trust and the royalty trust units.

Production risks can adversely affect distributions from the Royalty Trust.

The occurrence of drilling, production or transportation accidents at any of the subject interests could reduce or eliminate Royalty Trust distributions, if any. Although the Royalty Trust, as the owner of the overriding royalty interests, should not be responsible for the costs associated with any such accidents, any such accidents may result in the loss of a productive well and associated reserves or interruption of production. The Royalty Trust does not maintain any type of insurance against any of the risks of conducting oil and gas exploration and production or related activities.

Natural gas prices fluctuate due to a number of factors that are beyond the control of the Royalty Trust and HOGA, and lower prices could reduce proceeds to the Royalty Trust and cash distributions to Royalty Trust unitholders.
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Natural gas prices fluctuate widely in response to relatively minor changes in supply, market uncertainty and a variety of additional factors that are beyond the control of HOGA and the Royalty Trust. These factors include, among others:

regional, domestic and foreign supply of, and demand for, natural gas, as well as perceptions of supply of, and demand for, natural gas;

U.S. and worldwide political and economic conditions;

the occurrence or threat of epidemic or pandemic diseases, such as the recent outbreak of a novel strain of coronavirus known as COVID-19, or any government response to such occurrence or threat;

weather conditions and seasonal trends;

anticipated future prices of natural gas, alternative fuels and other commodities;

technological advances affecting energy consumption and energy supply;

the proximity, capacity, cost and availability of pipeline infrastructure, treating, transportation and refining capacity;

natural disasters and other acts of force majeure;

domestic and foreign governmental regulations and taxation;

energy conservation and environmental measures; and

the price and availability of alternative fuels.

During 2020, the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) natural gas price fluctuated from a low of $1.43 per MMBtu to a high of $3.40 per MMBtu. On March 19, 2021, the NYMEX natural gas price was $2.57 per MMBtu. Royalties that the Royalty Trust receives from its share of production will be reduced as a result of lower natural gas prices. As a result, future distributions from the Royalty Trust to its unitholders could be reduced or discontinued. In addition, lower oil and natural gas prices reduce the likelihood that the subject interests will be developed or that any oil or natural gas discovered will be economic to produce. The volatility of energy prices reduces the accuracy of estimates of future cash distributions to the Royalty Trust unitholders and could affect the value of the royalty trust units.

The onshore Highlander subject interest targets Inboard Lower Tertiary/Cretaceous formations onshore in South Louisiana, which has greater risks and costs associated with its exploration and development than conventional prospects.

To date, only the onshore Highlander subject interest has achieved commercial production of hydrocarbons from Inboard Lower Tertiary/Cretaceous reservoirs in these areas. The lack of comparative data and the limitations of diagnostic tools operating in the extreme temperatures and pressures encountered at these depths make it difficult to predict reservoir quality and well performance of these formations. It is also significantly more expensive and risky to drill and complete wells in these formations than at more conventional depths. Major contributors to such increased costs and risks include far higher temperatures and pressures encountered down hole, longer drilling times and the cost and extended procurement time related to the specialized equipment required to drill and complete these types of wells.

The Royalty Trust is vulnerable to risks associated with operations onshore in South Louisiana because the onshore Highlander subject interest is located in this area.

These risks include:

tropical storms and hurricanes, which are particularly common in South Louisiana during the summer and early fall of each year, and which can damage or completely destroy drilling, production and
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treatment facilities, which can result in the interruption or permanent cessation of production from associated wells;

flooding caused by heavy rain, which can result in the interruption or permanent cessation of production from associated wells;

extensive governmental regulation (including regulations that may, in certain circumstances, impose strict liability for pollution damage); and

interruption or termination of operations by governmental authorities based on environmental, safety or other considerations, including those relating to other operators and/or other geographical areas.

These exposures onshore in South Louisiana could have a material adverse effect on the onshore Highlander subject interest, on the Royalty Trust's results of operations and financial condition, and on the market price of the royalty trust units.

Risks Related to Environmental Conditions

Climate change laws and regulations restricting emissions of greenhouse gases could result in increased operating costs and reduced demand for the oil and natural gas that HOGA produces while the physical effects of climate change could disrupt their production and cause it to incur significant costs in preparing for or responding to those effects.

The threat of climate change continues to attract considerable attention globally. In the United States, no comprehensive climate change legislation has been implemented at the federal level. However, President Biden has highlighted addressing climate change as a priority of his administration, and federal regulators, state and local governments, and private parties have taken (or announced that they plan to take) actions that have or may have a significant influence on HOGA’s operations. For example, following the determination that emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and other GHGs present an endangerment to public health and welfare, the EPA has adopted regulations to regulate GHG emissions from certain large stationary sources, require the monitoring and reporting of GHG emissions from certain sources, and (together with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), implement GHG emissions limits on vehicles manufactured for operation in the United States, among other things. The regulation of methane from oil and gas facilities has been subject to uncertainty in recent years. In September 2020, the Trump Administration revised prior regulations to rescind certain methane standards and remove the transmission and storage segments from the source category for certain regulations. However, on January 20, 2021, President Biden signed an executive order calling for the suspension, revision, or rescission of the September 2020 rule and the reinstatement or issuance of methane emissions standards for new, modified, and existing oil and gas facilities.
Separately, a number of states have developed programs that are aimed at reducing GHG emissions by means of cap and trade programs, carbon taxes, or encouraging the use of renewable energy or alternative low-carbon fuels. Cap and trade programs typically require major sources of GHG emissions to acquire and surrender emission allowances in return for emitting those GHGs. In addition, efforts have been made and continue to be made in the international community toward the adoption of international treaties or protocols that would address global climate change issues. For example, in April 2016, the United States signed the Paris Agreement, which includes nonbinding pledges to limit or reduce future emissions. Although the United States had withdrawn from the Paris Agreement, President Biden has signed executive orders recommitting the United States to the Paris Agreement and calling for the federal government to begin formulating the United States’ nationally determined emissions reduction goals under the Paris Agreement. However, the impacts of these orders and the terms of any legislation or regulation to implement the United States’ commitment under the Paris Agreement remain unclear at this time.

Concern over climate change has also resulted in political risks in the United States, including climate-related pledges by certain candidates now in public office. On January 27, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order that commits to substantial action on climate change, calling for, among other things, the increased use of zero-emissions vehicles by the federal government, the elimination of subsidies provided to the fossil fuel industry, a suspension on the issuance of new authorizations for oil and gas activities on federal lands, and an increased emphasis on climate-related risk across governmental agencies and economic sectors. Other actions that could be pursued by the Biden Administration may include the imposition of more restrictive requirements for the
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establishment of pipeline infrastructure or the permitting of LNG export facilities, as well as more restrictive GHG emissions limitations for oil and gas facilities. Litigation risks are also increasing, as a number of cities and other local governments have sought to bring suit against the largest oil and gas companies in state or federal court, alleging, among other things, that such companies created public nuisances by producing fuels that contributed to climate change or alleging that the companies have been aware of the adverse effects of climate change for some time but failed to adequately disclose such impacts to their investors or customers.

Additionally, HOGA’s access to capital may be impacted by climate-related policies. Financial institutions may elect in the future to shift some or all of their investment into non-fossil fuel related sectors. There is also a risk that financial institutions may be required to adopt policies that have the effect of reducing the funding provided to the fossil fuel sector. Ultimately, this could make it more difficult to secure funding for exploration and production activities. Additionally, activist shareholders have introduced proposals that may seek to force companies to adopt aggressive emission reduction targets or to shift away from more carbon-intensive industries. Separately, activists may also pursue other means of curtailing natural gas operations, such as through litigation.

Separately, many scientists have concluded that increasing concentrations of GHG in the earth’s atmosphere may produce significant physical effects, such as increased frequency and severity of storms, droughts, and floods, among other climatic phenomena. If any of those effects were to occur in areas where HOGA’s facilities are located, they could have an adverse effect on the Royalty Trust's results of operations and financial condition.

Risks Related to the Royalty Trust Structure

There is a limited public market for the royalty trust units, which could affect the market price, trading volume, liquidity and resale price of the royalty trust units.

The royalty trust units are quoted on the OTC Pink tier of the over-the-counter (OTC) markets. The OTC Pink is a significantly more limited market than the national securities exchanges, which could adversely affect the market price, trading volume, liquidity and resale price of the royalty trust units.

Although the royalty trust units are currently quoted on the OTC Pink, an active market in the royalty trust units may not continue at present levels or increase in the future. In addition, securities that trade on the OTC Pink experience more volatility compared to securities that trade on a national securities exchange. This volatility may be caused by a variety of factors, including the lack of readily available price quotations, the absence of consistent administrative supervision of bid and ask quotations, lower trading volumes, and market conditions.

Because there is a limited public market for the royalty trust units, the market price and trading volume of the royalty trust units may be volatile.

Additionally, the royalty trust units could become subject to the SEC’s “penny stock” regulations. The SEC defines a “penny stock” as any equity security that has a market price of less than $5.00 per share subject to certain exceptions, including securities of issuers with net tangible assets in excess of $2.0 million that have been in continuous operation for at least three years. The Royalty Trust had approximately $2.0 million in net tangible assets at December 31, 2020. If the royalty trust units become subject to the SEC’s penny stock regulations, brokers may be less willing to execute transactions in the royalty trust units as a result of the requirements imposed by these regulations, which could further limit the liquidity of the royalty trust units.

The Royalty Trust unitholders may experience fluctuations in the market price and volume of the trading market for the royalty trust units for many reasons, including, without limitation:

as a result of other risk factors discussed in this Form 10-K;

the failure of the subject interests to produce hydrocarbons;

decisions by McMoRan or HOGA to delay or not to pursue the exploration or development of some or all of their respective subject interests;

reasons unrelated to operational performance, such as reports by industry analysts, investor perceptions, or announcements by competitors regarding their own performance;

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legal or regulatory changes that could impact the business of McMoRan or HOGA; and

general economic, securities markets and industry conditions.

Fluctuations in the volume of the trading market may have a negative effect on the market price for the royalty trust units. Accordingly, Royalty Trust unitholders may not be able to realize a fair price when they determine to sell their royalty trust units or may have to hold them for a substantial period of time until the market for the royalty trust units improves, if it does at all. FCX has a call right with respect to the outstanding royalty trust units at $10 per royalty trust unit. This call right could impose a ceiling on the price of the royalty trust units. In addition, if the royalty trust units are then listed for trading or admitted for quotation on a national securities exchange or any quotation system and the volume-weighted average price per royalty trust unit is equal to $0.25 or less for the immediately preceding consecutive nine-month period, FCX may purchase all, but not less than all, of the outstanding royalty trust units at a price of $0.25 per royalty trust unit so long as FCX tenders payment within 30 days following the end of such nine-month period. See Part I, Items 1. and 2. “Business and Properties - The Royalty Trust - The Royalty Trust Agreement - FCX Call Rights” of this Form 10-K. In addition, Royalty Trust unitholders may incur brokerage charges in connection with the resale of the royalty trust units, which in some cases could exceed the proceeds realized by a holder from the resale of its royalty trust units.

The Royalty Trust is dependent on FCX for funding unless royalty income from production on the onshore Highlander subject interest is sufficient to cover the Royalty Trust's administrative expenses.

Pursuant to the royalty trust agreement, FCX has agreed to pay annual trust expenses up to a maximum amount of $350,000, with no right of repayment or interest due, to the extent the Royalty Trust lacks sufficient funds to pay administrative expenses. No such contributions were made during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019. In addition to such annual contributions, FCX has agreed to lend money, on an unsecured, interest-free basis, to the Royalty Trust to fund the Royalty Trust's ordinary administrative expenses as set forth in the royalty trust agreement. All funds the Trustee borrows to cover expenses or liabilities, whether from FCX or from any other source, must be repaid before the Royalty Trust unitholders will receive any distributions. No loans or repayments were made during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019.

Pursuant to the royalty trust agreement, FCX agreed to provide and maintain a $1.0 million stand-by reserve account or an equivalent letter of credit for the benefit of the Royalty Trust to enable the Trustee to draw on such reserve account or letter of credit to pay obligations of the Royalty Trust if its funds are inadequate to pay its obligations at any time. Currently, with the consent of the Trustee, FCX may reduce the reserve account or substitute a letter of credit with a different face amount for the original letter of credit or any substitute letter of credit. In connection with this arrangement, FCX has provided $1.0 million in the form of a reserve fund cash account to the Royalty Trust. As of December 31, 2020, the Royalty Trust had not drawn any funds from the reserve account, and FCX had not requested a reduction of such reserve account. If FCX requested and the Royalty Trust consented to reduce the current $1.0 million reserve cash fund, the Royalty Trust's ability to fund ongoing administrative expenses could be adversely affected.

Additionally, if any material adverse change in HOGA's financial condition or results of operations causes HOGA to be unable to fund the exploration and development of the onshore Highlander subject interest, or if for any other reason sufficient production from the onshore Highlander subject interest is not maintained in commercial quantities, Royalty Trust unitholders will not realize any additional value from their investment in the royalty trust units.

FCX and HOGA's interests and the interests of the Royalty Trust unitholders may not always be aligned.

FCX's interests and the interests of the Royalty Trust unitholders are not completely aligned. McMoRan has informed the Trustee that it has no plans to pursue, has relinquished, has allowed to expire or has sold all of its subject interests.

HOGA's interests and the interests of the Royalty Trust unitholders are not completely aligned. For example, in setting budgets for development and production expenditures for HOGA's properties, including the onshore Highlander subject interest, HOGA may make decisions that could adversely affect future production from the onshore Highlander subject interest.

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McMoRan or HOGA may at any time transfer all or part of the subject interests and will not have control or influence over the activities related to the subject interests it does not operate.

McMoRan or HOGA may at any time transfer all or part of the subject interests. The Royalty Trust unitholders are not entitled to vote on any transfer, and the Royalty Trust will not receive any proceeds from the transfer of the subject interests. Following any such transfer, the subject interests would continue to be subject to the overriding royalty interests, but the net proceeds from the transferred subject interests would be calculated separately and paid by the transferee. Unless McMoRan or HOGA and the transferee agree otherwise, the transferee would be responsible for all of McMoRan and HOGA's obligations relating to the overriding royalty interests on the portion of the subject interests transferred, and McMoRan and HOGA would have no continuing obligation to the Royalty Trust for those subject interests.     

On February 5, 2019, McMoRan completed the sale of all of its rights, title and interest in and to the onshore Highlander subject interest pursuant to a purchase and sale agreement with HOGA. The onshore Highlander subject interest was sold subject to the overriding royalty interest in future production held by the Royalty Trust. As a result of the Highlander Sale, HOGA has a 72 percent working interest and an approximate 48 percent net revenue interest in the onshore Highlander subject interest. The Royalty Trust continues to hold a 3.6 percent overriding royalty interest in the onshore Highlander subject interest. McMoRan was the operator of the onshore Highlander subject interest through May 31, 2019. HOGA qualified and was designated as the operator on June 1, 2019. McMoRan has informed the Trustee that it has no plans to pursue, has relinquished, has allowed to expire or has sold all of its subject interests.

The Royalty Trust is limited in duration, may be dissolved upon certain events and the royalty trust units are subject to call features.

The Royalty Trust will dissolve on the earliest to occur of (i) June 3, 2033, (ii) the sale of all of the overriding royalty interests, (iii) the election of the Trustee following its resignation for cause (as more fully described in the royalty trust agreement), (iv) a vote of the holders of 66⅔% or more of the outstanding royalty trust units held by persons other than FCX or any of its affiliates, at a duly called meeting of the Royalty Trust unitholders at which a quorum is present, or (v) the exercise by FCX of the right to call all of the royalty trust units as described in the next paragraph. The overriding royalty interests terminate upon the termination of the Royalty Trust, other than in certain limited circumstances where the Royalty Trust has been permitted to transfer the overriding royalty interests to a third party pursuant to the terms of the royalty trust agreement (in which case the overriding royalty interests may extend through June 3, 2033).

FCX has a call right with respect to the outstanding royalty trust units at $10 per royalty trust unit. In addition, if the royalty trust units are then listed for trading or admitted for quotation on a national securities exchange or any quotation system and the volume-weighted average price per royalty trust unit is equal to $0.25 or less for the immediately preceding consecutive nine-month period, FCX may purchase all, but not less than all, of the outstanding royalty trust units at a price of $0.25 per royalty trust unit so long as FCX tenders payment within 30 days following the end of such nine-month period.

The Royalty Trust is passive in nature and neither the Royalty Trust nor the Royalty Trust unitholders have any ability to influence FCX, McMoRan or HOGA or to control the development or operation of the subject interests.
The royalty trust units are a passive investment that entitle the Royalty Trust unitholders only to receive cash distributions, if any, from the overriding royalty interests. Royalty Trust unitholders have no voting rights with respect to FCX, McMoRan or HOGA and, therefore, have no managerial, contractual or other ability to influence their activities or the development or operations of the subject interests. Additionally, none of FCX, McMoRan or HOGA is under any obligation to fund or to commit any resources to the exploration or development of the subject interests.

FCX or HOGA may sell royalty trust units in the public or private markets, and any such sales may have a material adverse effect on the trading price of the royalty trust units.
At December 31, 2020, the Royalty Trust had 230,172,696 royalty trust units outstanding. In connection with the Highlander Sale on February 5, 2019, McMoRan assigned 31,143,150 royalty trust units to HOGA and retained 31,143,149 royalty trust units. FCX and HOGA each hold 13.5% of the outstanding royalty trust units. FCX or HOGA
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may sell royalty trust units in the public or private markets. Any such sales may have a material adverse effect on the trading price of the royalty trust units. A small number of other unitholders also hold significant percentages of the outstanding royalty trust units, and sales by such holders also may have a material adverse effect on the trading price of the royalty trust units. See Part III, Item 12. “Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Royalty Trust Unitholder Matters” of this Form 10-K.
The Royalty Trust is managed by a Trustee who cannot be replaced except by a majority vote of the Royalty Trust unitholders, which may make it difficult for Royalty Trust unitholders to remove or replace the Trustee.
The affairs of the Royalty Trust are managed by the Trustee. The voting rights of Royalty Trust unitholders are more limited than those of stockholders of most public corporations. For example, there is no requirement for the Royalty Trust to hold annual meetings of Royalty Trust unitholders or for an annual or other periodic re-election of the Trustee. The Royalty Trust does not intend to hold annual meetings of Royalty Trust unitholders. The royalty trust agreement provides that the Trustee may only be removed by the affirmative vote of holders of a majority of the royalty trust units outstanding. As a result, it would be difficult for public Royalty Trust unitholders to remove or replace the Trustee without the cooperation of FCX and HOGA so long as each holds a significant percentage of the total royalty trust units.
Risks Related to Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity incidents or other failures in telecommunications or information technology systems could result in information theft, data corruption and significant disruption of the respective operations of the Trustee, HOGA and McMoRan as they relate to the Royalty Trust.
Each of the Trustee, HOGA and McMoRan depend heavily upon information technology systems and networks in connection with their respective business activities as they relate to the Royalty Trust. Despite any security measures implemented, events such as the loss or theft of back-up tapes or other data storage media could occur, and computer systems could be subject to physical and electronic break-ins, cyber-attacks and similar disruptions from unauthorized tampering, including threats that may come from external factors, such as governments, organized crime, hackers and third parties to whom certain functions are outsourced, or may originate internally from within the respective companies.
If a cybersecurity incident were to occur, it could potentially jeopardize the confidential, proprietary and other information processed and stored in, and transmitted through, the computer systems and networks of the respective companies, or otherwise cause interruptions or malfunctions in the operations of the Royalty Trust, which could result in litigation, increased costs and regulatory penalties. Despite any steps taken by the respective companies to prevent and detect such attacks, it is possible that a cyber incident will not be discovered for some time after it occurs, which could increase exposure to these consequences.
Risks Related to Taxes

The tax treatment of the royalty trust units is uncertain.

Although the tax treatment of overriding royalty interests in specified developed wells that have been drilled is well developed, the law is less developed in the area of overriding royalty interests on exploration prospects that are not classified as having proved, probable or possible reserves and have potential well locations that may be drilled in the future.  As a result, there is uncertainty as to the proper tax treatment of the overriding royalty interests held by the Royalty Trust, and counsel is unable to express any opinion as to the proper tax treatment as either a mineral royalty interest or a production payment.  Based on the state of facts on the date on which this Form 10-K was filed, the Royalty Trust continues to treat the royalty trust units as mineral royalty interests for U.S. federal income tax purposes.  However, no ruling has been requested from the IRS regarding the proper treatment of the royalty trust units; therefore, the IRS may assert, or a court may sustain the IRS in asserting, that the royalty trust units should be treated as “production payments” that are debt instruments for U.S. federal income tax purposes subject to the Treasury Regulations applicable to contingent payment debt instruments. 

Royalty Trust unitholders should consult their tax advisors as to the specific tax consequences of the ownership and disposition of the royalty trust units, including the applicability and effect of U.S. federal, state, local and foreign income and other tax laws in light of their particular circumstances.
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The Royalty Trust has not requested a ruling from the IRS regarding the tax treatment of ownership of the royalty trust units.  If the IRS were to determine (and be sustained in that determination) that the Royalty Trust is not a “grantor trust” for federal income tax purposes, or that the overriding royalty interests are not properly treated as mineral royalty interests for U.S. federal income tax purposes, the Royalty Trust unitholders may receive different and potentially less advantageous tax treatment.

If the Royalty Trust were not treated as a grantor trust for U.S. federal income tax purposes, the Royalty Trust should be treated as a partnership for such purposes.  Although the Royalty Trust would not become subject to U.S. federal income taxation at the entity level as a result of treatment as a partnership, and items of income, gain, loss and deduction would flow through to the Royalty Trust unitholders, the Royalty Trust's tax reporting requirements would be more complex and costlier to implement and maintain, and any distributions to Royalty Trust unitholders could be reduced as a result.

If the Royalty Trust were treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as a partnership, it likely would be subject to the procedures for auditing large partnerships as well as the procedures for assessing and collecting income taxes due (including applicable penalties and interest) as a result of an audit. These rules effectively would impose an entity level tax on the Royalty Trust, and Royalty Trust unitholders may have to bear the expense of the adjustment even if they were not Royalty Trust unitholders during the audited taxable year.

If the overriding royalty interests were not treated as a mineral royalty interest, the amount, timing and character of income, gain, or loss in respect of an investment in the Royalty Trust could be affected. 

The Royalty Trust has not requested a ruling from the IRS regarding these tax questions. The IRS could challenge these positions on audit, and such challenges could be sustained by a court.
    
No assurance can be given with respect to the availability and extent of percentage depletion deductions to the Royalty Trust unitholders for any taxable year.

Payments out of production that are received by a Royalty Trust unitholder in respect of a mineral royalty interest for U.S. federal income tax purposes are taxable under current law as ordinary income subject to an allowance for cost or percentage depletion in respect of such income.  The rules with respect to this depletion allowance are complex and must be computed separately by each Royalty Trust unitholder and not by the Royalty Trust for each natural gas property.  As a result, no assurance can be given, and counsel is unable to express any opinion, with respect to the availability or extent of percentage depletion deductions to the Royalty Trust unitholders for any taxable year. 

The Royalty Trust encourages Royalty Trust unitholders to consult their own tax advisors to determine whether and to what extent percentage depletion would be available to them for both U.S. federal income tax and state income tax purposes.

Royalty Trust unitholders will be required to pay taxes on their pro-rata share of the taxable income attributable to the assets of the Royalty Trust even if they do not receive any cash distributions from the Royalty Trust.

Because the holders of royalty trust units will be taxed directly on their pro-rata share of the taxable income attributable to the assets of the Royalty Trust and such taxable income could be different in amount than the cash the Royalty Trust distributes, Royalty Trust unitholders will be required to pay any U.S. federal income taxes and, in some cases, state and local income taxes on such taxable income even if they receive no cash distributions from the Royalty Trust.  Royalty Trust unitholders may not receive cash distributions from the Royalty Trust equal to their pro-rata share of the taxable income attributable to the assets of the Royalty Trust or even equal to the actual tax liability that results from that income.

As a consequence of special reporting rules, Royalty Trust unitholders may not be able to recognize income/claim losses realized by the Royalty Trust until the unitholders dispose of Royalty Trust units.
 
If the Royalty Trust satisfies the general de minimis test prescribed by the IRS and elects to report using the de minimis test, the Royalty Trust will only be required to report, with respect to sales or dispositions of trust assets, the amount of sales proceeds distributed to a Royalty Trust unitholder during the year.  Reporting under the de
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minimis exception will leave unitholders with inadequate information to be able to fully report the result of the sales and dispositions falling under the de minimis threshold in a given year. The reason for the de minimis exception is that the IRS and the Treasury Department believe that if a widely held fixed investment trust such as the Royalty Trust sells or disposes of assets infrequently, although there may be some deferral of gains and losses if sales and dispositions are not fully reported, the deferral is acceptable, in light of the burden of fully and accurately reporting the sales and dispositions.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
    
None.

Item 3. Legal Proceedings
    
There are currently no pending legal proceedings to which the Royalty Trust is a party.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
    
Not applicable.


PART II

Item 5. Market for Registrant's Royalty Trust Units, Related Royalty Trust Unitholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Royalty Trust Units

    The royalty trust units are quoted on the OTC Pink tier of the over-the-counter, or OTC, markets under the symbol “GULTU.” For information regarding the OTC Pink and fluctuations in the market price and trading volume of the royalty trust units, see Part I, Item 1A. “Risk Factors - There is a limited public market for the royalty trust units, which could affect the market price, trading volume, liquidity and resale price of the royalty trust units” of this Form 10-K.

The following table shows the high and low sales/bid prices, as applicable, per royalty trust unit as reported on the OTC Pink for the periods indicated. Quotations on the OTC Pink reflect bid and ask quotations, may reflect inter-dealer prices, without retail markup, markdown or commission, and may not represent actual transactions.
2020 2019
High Low High Low
First Quarter $ 0.03  $ 0.01  $ 0.03  $ 0.03 
Second Quarter 0.02  0.02  0.03  0.02 
Third Quarter 0.02  0.01  0.04  0.02 
Fourth Quarter $ 0.02  $ 0.01  $ 0.05  $ 0.02 

As of March 19, 2021, there were 230,172,696 royalty trust units outstanding and 4,488 Royalty Trust unitholders of record.

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities and Royalty Trust Unitholder Matters
    
    There were no equity securities sold by the Royalty Trust during the year ended December 31, 2020. At December 31, 2020, the Royalty Trust had 230,172,696 royalty trust units outstanding. In connection with the Highlander Sale on February 5, 2019, McMoRan assigned 31,143,150 royalty trust units to HOGA and retained 31,143,149 royalty trust units. FCX and HOGA each hold 13.5% of the outstanding royalty trust units.

Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans
    
    None.

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Purchases of Royalty Trust Units by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers
    
    None.


Item 6. Selected Financial Data

    As a smaller reporting company as defined in Item 10(f) of Regulation S-K, the Royalty Trust is not required to provide the information required by this Item.

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Item 7. Trustee’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

OVERVIEW

You should read the following discussion in conjunction with Part II, Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” and Part I, Items 1. and 2. “Business and Properties” of this Form 10-K. The results of operations reported and summarized below are not necessarily indicative of future operating results. Unless otherwise specified, all references to “Notes” refer to Notes to Financial Statements located in Part II, Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this Form 10-K. A glossary of definitions for some of the oil and gas industry terms used in this Form 10-K is provided beginning on page 48. Additionally, please refer to the section above entitled “Forward-Looking Statements” in this Form 10-K. The information below has been furnished to the Trustee by Highlander Oil & Gas Assets LLC (HOGA).

COVID-19 Pandemic and Market Conditions Update

In March 2020, the World Health Organization designated the outbreak of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 as a pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic and related economic repercussions have created significant volatility, uncertainty, and turmoil in the oil and natural gas industry. Governments have tried to slow the spread of the virus by imposing social distancing guidelines, travel restrictions, and stay-at-home orders, which have caused a significant decrease in activity in the global economy and the demand for oil and natural gas. Demand and pricing may continue to decline if there is a resurgence of the virus across the U.S. and other locations around the world. The extent of the additional impacts on the oil and natural gas industry, the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, the speed and effectiveness of vaccine distributions to combat the virus, and further effects on the Royalty Trust cannot be reasonably predicted at this time.

Business Overview

On June 3, 2013, Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX) and McMoRan Exploration Co. (MMR) completed the transactions contemplated by the Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated as of December 5, 2012 (the merger agreement), by and among MMR, FCX, and INAVN Corp., a Delaware corporation and indirect wholly owned subsidiary of FCX (Merger Sub). Pursuant to the merger agreement, Merger Sub merged with and into MMR, with MMR surviving the merger as an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of FCX (the merger).

FCX's oil and gas assets are held through its wholly owned subsidiary, FCX Oil & Gas LLC (FM O&G). As a result of the merger, MMR and McMoRan are both indirect wholly owned subsidiaries of FM O&G.
    
The Royalty Trust is a statutory trust created as contemplated by the merger agreement by FCX under the Delaware Statutory Trust Act pursuant to a trust agreement entered into on December 18, 2012 (inception), by and among FCX, as depositor, Wilmington Trust, National Association, as Delaware trustee, and certain officers of FCX, as regular trustees. On May 29, 2013, Wilmington Trust, National Association, was replaced by BNY Trust of Delaware, as Delaware trustee (the Delaware Trustee), through an action of the depositor. Effective June 3, 2013, the regular trustees were replaced by The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A., a national banking association, as trustee (the Trustee).

The Royalty Trust was created to hold a 5% gross overriding royalty interest (collectively, the overriding royalty interests) in future production from each of McMoRan's Inboard Lower Tertiary/Cretaceous exploration prospects located in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico and onshore in South Louisiana that existed as of December 5, 2012, the date of the merger agreement (collectively, the subject interests). The subject interests were “carved out” of the mineral interests acquired by FCX pursuant to the merger and were not considered part of FCX's purchase consideration of MMR. McMoRan has informed the Trustee that it has no plans to pursue, has relinquished, has allowed to expire or has sold all of its subject interests.

In connection with the merger, on June 3, 2013, (1) FCX, as depositor, McMoRan Oil & Gas LLC (McMoRan), as grantor, the Trustee and the Delaware Trustee entered into the amended and restated royalty trust agreement to govern the Royalty Trust and the respective rights and obligations of FCX, the Trustee, the Delaware Trustee, and the Royalty Trust unitholders with respect to the Royalty Trust (the royalty trust agreement); and (2) McMoRan, as grantor, and the Royalty Trust, as grantee, entered into the master conveyance of overriding royalty interests (the master conveyance) pursuant to which McMoRan conveyed to the Royalty Trust the overriding royalty
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interests in future production from the subject interests. Other than (a) its formation, (b) its receipt of contributions and loans from FCX for administrative and other expenses as provided for in the royalty trust agreement, (c) its payment of such administrative and other expenses, (d) its repayment of loans from FCX, (e) its receipt of the conveyance of the overriding royalty interests from McMoRan pursuant to the master conveyance, (f) its receipt of royalties from McMoRan or HOGA, and (g) its cash distributions to unitholders, if any, the Royalty Trust has not conducted any activities. The Trustee has no involvement with, control over, or responsibility for, any aspect of any operations on or relating to the subject interests.

On February 5, 2019, McMoRan completed the sale of all of its rights, title and interest in and to the onshore Highlander subject interest pursuant to a purchase and sale agreement with Highlander Oil & Gas Assets LLC (HOGA) (the Highlander Sale). The onshore Highlander subject interest was sold subject to the overriding royalty interest in future production held by the Royalty Trust. As a result of the Highlander Sale, HOGA has a 72 percent working interest and an approximate 48 percent net revenue interest in the onshore Highlander subject interest. The Royalty Trust continues to hold a 3.6 percent overriding royalty interest in the onshore Highlander subject interest. McMoRan was the operator of the onshore Highlander subject interest through May 31, 2019. HOGA qualified and was designated as the operator on June 1, 2019.
Currently, only the onshore Highlander subject interest has established commercial production. The Royalty Trust has no ability to direct or influence the exploration or development of the subject interests. In addition, none of FCX, McMoRan or HOGA is under any obligation to fund or to commit any other resources to the exploration or development of the subject interests. To the extent that HOGA does not fund further exploration and development of the onshore Highlander subject interest, or if for any other reason sufficient production from the onshore Highlander subject interest is not maintained in commercial quantities, Royalty Trust unitholders will not realize any additional value from their investment in the royalty trust units.

The royalty trust units are quoted on the OTC Pink tier of the OTC markets. The OTC Pink is a significantly more limited market than the national securities exchanges, which could adversely affect the market price, trading volume, liquidity and resale price of the royalty trust units.
For information regarding the OTC Pink, see Part I, Item IA. “Risk Factors - There is a limited public market for the royalty trust units, which could affect the market price, trading volume and resale price of the royalty trust units” of this Form 10-K.
OPERATIONAL ACTIVITIES
    
Oil and Gas Activities

For additional information regarding McMoRan’s and HOGA's current oil and gas activities in relation to the subject interests, see Part I, Items 1. and 2. “Business and Properties - The Subject Interests - Exploratory and Development Drilling” and Part I, Item 1A. “Risk Factors” of this Form 10-K.

Production

For information regarding McMoRan’s and HOGA's production, see “Results of Operations" in this section of this Form 10-K.

Acreage Position

For information regarding McMoRan’s and HOGA's acreage position, see Part I, Items 1. and 2. “Business and Properties - The Subject Interests - Acreage” of this Form 10-K.

RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
    
Royalty Income. The onshore Highlander subject interest began commercial production on February 25, 2015. Prior to this date there had been no commercial production of hydrocarbons from any of the subject interests. As of December 31, 2020, only the onshore Highlander subject interest had established commercial production. During the year ended December 31, 2020, the Royalty Trust received royalties of $790,465 from HOGA related to 515,278 Mcf of natural gas production attributable to the onshore Highlander subject interest with average post-production costs of $0.34 per Mcf and an average receipt price of $1.88 per Mcf. During the year ended December 31, 2019,
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the Royalty Trust received royalties of $1,386,064 from McMoRan and HOGA related to 582,484 Mcf of natural gas production attributable to the onshore Highlander subject interest with average post-production costs of $0.33 per Mcf and an average receipt price of $2.71 per Mcf. Lower royalty income in 2020 as compared to 2019 is primarily due to lower natural gas prices during 2020 and decreased production from normal production decline and from adverse weather conditions resulting in temporary shut-ins.

Administrative Expenses. For the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, the Royalty Trust paid administrative expenses of $617,153 and $588,987, respectively. Administrative expenses, which consisted primarily of audit, legal and trustee expenses incurred in connection with the administration of the Royalty Trust, were higher in 2020 as compared to 2019 primarily because of the timing of payments for professional fees.
LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES

Pursuant to the royalty trust agreement, FCX has agreed to pay annual trust expenses up to $350,000, with no right of repayment or interest due, to the extent the Royalty Trust lacks sufficient funds to pay administrative expenses. No such contributions were made during the years ended December 31, 2020 or 2019. In addition to such annual contributions, FCX has agreed to lend money, on an unsecured, interest-free basis, to the Royalty Trust to fund the Royalty Trust's ordinary administrative expenses as set forth in the royalty trust agreement. All funds the Trustee borrows to cover expenses or liabilities, whether from FCX or from any other source, must be repaid before the Royalty Trust unitholders will receive any distributions. No loans or repayments were made during the years ended December 31, 2020 or 2019.

Pursuant to the royalty trust agreement, FCX also agreed to provide and maintain a $1.0 million stand-by reserve account or an equivalent letter of credit for the benefit of the Royalty Trust to enable the Trustee to draw on such reserve account or letter of credit to pay obligations of the Royalty Trust if its funds are inadequate to pay its obligations at any time. Currently, with the consent of the Trustee, FCX may reduce the reserve account or substitute a letter of credit with a different face amount for the original letter of credit or any substitute letter of credit. In connection with this arrangement, FCX has provided $1.0 million in the form of a reserve fund cash account to the Royalty Trust. As of December 31, 2020, the Royalty Trust had not drawn any funds from the reserve account, and FCX had not requested a reduction of such reserve account.
    
In connection with the completion of the Highlander Sale, HOGA assumed all administrative and reporting responsibilities with respect to the Royalty Trust, including those described in Article III of the royalty trust agreement.

As of December 31, 2020, only the onshore Highlander subject interest had established commercial production. Royalties are paid to the Royalty Trust on the last day of the month following the month in which production payments are received by McMoRan or HOGA in accordance with the terms of the master conveyance. In accordance with the master conveyance, the Royalty Trust received royalties from McMoRan and HOGA of $790,465 and $1,386,064 during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively, due to production from the onshore Highlander subject interest.

Royalties received by the Royalty Trust must first be used to (i) satisfy Royalty Trust administrative expenses and (ii) reduce Royalty Trust indebtedness. The Royalty Trust had no indebtedness outstanding as of December 31, 2020. Additionally, the Trustee has established a minimum cash reserve of $250,000. As a result, distributions will be made to Royalty Trust unitholders only when royalties received less administrative expenses incurred and repayment of any indebtedness exceeds the $250,000 minimum cash reserve. Distributable income totaled $175,164 and $806,028 for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. On January 15, 2021, the Royalty Trust declared a cash distribution of $0.000310 per unit paid on February 12, 2021, to unitholders of record on January 29, 2021. These distributions are not necessarily indicative of future distributions. The Royalty Trust's only other sources of liquidity are mandatory annual contributions, any loans and the required standby reserve account or letter of credit from FCX. As a result, any material adverse change in FCX's, McMoRan's or HOGA's financial condition or results of operations could materially and adversely affect the Royalty Trust and the underlying royalty trust units. See Part I, Item 1A. “Risk Factors” of this Form 10-K for more information.

CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES AND ESTIMATES

The financial statements of the Royalty Trust are prepared on the modified cash basis of accounting and are not intended to present the Royalty Trust’s financial position and results of operations in conformity with GAAP.
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This other comprehensive basis of accounting corresponds to the accounting permitted for royalty trusts by the SEC.
The carrying value of the Royalty Trust’s overriding royalty interests in the subject interests (defined in Note 2 to the Notes to Financial Statements located in Part II, Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this Form 10-K) is amortized using the units of production method based on estimated proved reserves, on an individual subject interest basis, once production has been achieved for the respective subject interests. Such non-cash amortization is charged directly to the Trust Corpus as royalties are received, and does not affect distributable cash or the determination of distributable cash per royalty trust unit.

The Royalty Trust evaluates the carrying values of the overriding royalty interests in the subject interests for impairment if conditions indicate that potential uncertainty exists regarding the Royalty Trust’s ability to recover its recorded amounts related to the overriding royalty interests. Indications of potential impairment with respect to the overriding royalty interests can include, among other things, subject interest lease expirations, reductions in estimated reserve quantities or resource potential, changes in estimated future oil and gas prices, exploration costs, and/or drilling plans, and other matters that arise that could negatively impact the carrying values of the overriding royalty interests. If an impairment event occurs and it is determined that the carrying value of the Royalty Trust's overriding royalty interests in the subject interests may not be recoverable, an impairment will be recognized as measured by the amount by which the carrying amount of the overriding royalty interests in the subject interests exceeds the fair value of these assets, which would be measured by discounting projected cash flows. The related impairment amounts are recorded as a reduction to the overriding royalty interests with an offsetting reduction to the Trust Corpus in the period such impairment is determined, see Note 3. No impairment charges were recorded during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019.

NEW ACCOUNTING STANDARDS

The Royalty Trust does not expect recently issued accounting standards to have a significant impact on its future financial statements and disclosures.

Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

    As a smaller reporting company as defined in Item 10(f) of Regulation S-K, the Royalty Trust is not required to provide the information required by this Item.

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Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

TO THE TRUSTEE AND HOLDERS OF ROYALTY TRUST UNITS
OF GULF COAST ULTRA DEEP ROYALTY TRUST:

Opinion on the Financial Statements

We have audited the accompanying statements of assets, liabilities and trust corpus of Gulf Coast Ultra Deep Royalty Trust (the Royalty Trust) as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, the related statements of distributable income and changes in trust corpus for each of the two years in the period ended December 31, 2020, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the “financial statements”). In our opinion, the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the assets, liabilities and trust corpus of the Royalty Trust at December 31, 2020 and 2019, and the distributable income for each of the two years in the period ended December 31, 2020, in conformity with modified cash basis of accounting described in Note 1.

Basis of Accounting

As described in Note 1, these financial statements were prepared on a modified cash basis, which is a comprehensive basis of accounting other than generally accepted accounting principles.

Basis for Opinion

These financial statements are the responsibility of The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A., as the Royalty Trust’s trustee (the Trustee). Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Royalty Trust’s financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB) and are required to be independent with respect to the Royalty Trust in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. The Royalty Trust is not required to have, nor were we engaged to perform, an audit of its internal control over financial reporting. As part of our audits we are required to obtain an understanding of internal control over financial reporting but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Royalty Trust's internal control over financial reporting. Accordingly, we express no such opinion.

Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.

Critical Audit Matters

Critical audit matters are matters arising from the current period audit of the financial statements that were communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that: (1) relate to accounts or disclosures that are material to the financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective or complex judgments. We determined that there are no critical audit matters.

/s/ Ernst & Young LLP


We have served as the Royalty Trust's auditor since 2013.

New Orleans, Louisiana
March 23, 2021
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GULF COAST ULTRA DEEP ROYALTY TRUST
STATEMENTS OF ASSETS, LIABILITIES AND TRUST CORPUS

December 31,
2020 2019
ASSETS
Operating cash $ 321,252  $ 412,249 
Reserve fund cash and short-term investments 1,054,444  1,047,541 
Overriding royalty interests in subject interests, net 609,806  823,927 
Total assets $ 1,985,502  $ 2,283,717 
LIABILITIES AND TRUST CORPUS
Reserve fund liability $ 1,054,444  $ 1,047,541 
Trust corpus (230,172,696 royalty trust units authorized, issued and outstanding as of December 31, 2020 and 2019) 931,058  1,236,176 
Total liabilities and trust corpus $ 1,985,502  $ 2,283,717 




The accompanying notes are an integral part of these financial statements.

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GULF COAST ULTRA DEEP ROYALTY TRUST
STATEMENTS OF DISTRIBUTABLE INCOME
Years Ended December 31,
2020 2019
Royalty income $ 790,465  $ 1,386,064 
Interest income and other 1,852  8,951 
Administrative expenses (617,153) (588,987)
Income in excess of administrative expenses
$ 175,164  $ 806,028 
Distributable income $ 175,164  $ 806,028 
Distributable income per royalty trust unit $ 0.000761  $ 0.003502 
Royalty trust units outstanding at end of year
230,172,696  230,172,696 


The accompanying notes are an integral part of these financial statements.

34


GULF COAST ULTRA DEEP ROYALTY TRUST
STATEMENTS OF CHANGES IN TRUST CORPUS

Years Ended December 31,
2020 2019
Trust corpus, beginning of period $ 1,236,176  $ 1,800,617 
Amortization of overriding royalty interests in subject interests
(214,121) (471,671)
Income in excess of administrative expenses
175,164  806,028 
Distributions paid (266,161) (898,798)
Trust corpus, end of period $ 931,058  $ 1,236,176 



The accompanying notes are an integral part of these financial statements.

35


GULF COAST ULTRA DEEP ROYALTY TRUST
NOTES TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

1 . SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
    
The financial statements of Gulf Coast Ultra Deep Royalty Trust (the Royalty Trust) are prepared on the modified cash basis of accounting and are not intended to present the Royalty Trusts financial position and results of operations in conformity with United States (U.S.) generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). This other comprehensive basis of accounting corresponds to the accounting permitted for royalty trusts by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as specified by Staff Accounting Bulletin Topic 12:E, Financial Statements of Royalty Trusts.
The Royalty Trust's operating cash and reserve fund cash amounts represent deposits in highly liquid short-term U.S. Treasury money market funds. The Royalty Trust's reserve fund short-term investments include U.S. treasury securities with maturities of three months to one year and are recorded at cost in accordance with the modified cash basis of accounting.

The carrying value of the Royalty Trust’s overriding royalty interests in the subject interests (each defined in Note 2) is amortized using the units of production method based on estimated proved reserves, on an individual subject interest basis, once production has been achieved for the respective subject interests. Such non-cash amortization is charged directly to the Trust Corpus as royalties are received, and will not affect distributable cash or the determination of distributable cash per royalty trust unit, see Note 3.

The Royalty Trust evaluates the carrying values of the overriding royalty interests in the subject interests for impairment if conditions indicate that potential uncertainty exists regarding the Royalty Trust’s ability to recover its recorded amounts related to the overriding royalty interests. Indications of potential impairment with respect to the overriding royalty interests can include, among other things, subject interest lease expirations, reductions in estimated reserve quantities or resource potential, changes in estimated future oil and natural gas prices, exploration costs, and/or drilling plans, and other matters that arise that could negatively impact the carrying values of the overriding royalty interests. If an impairment event occurs and it is determined that the carrying value of the Royalty Trust's overriding royalty interests in the subject interests may not be recoverable, an impairment will be recognized as measured by the amount by which the carrying amount of the overriding royalty interests in the subject interests exceeds the fair value of these assets, which would be measured by discounting projected cash flows. The related impairment amounts are recorded as a reduction to the overriding royalty interest with an offsetting reduction to the Trust Corpus in the period such impairment is determined. Impairment of the carrying values of the overriding royalty interests in the subject interests involves a significant amount of judgment and may be subject to changes over time based on drilling plans and results, geophysical evaluations, the assignment of proved natural gas reserves, availability of capital and other factors. Fair value accounting guidance includes a hierarchy that prioritizes the inputs to valuation techniques used to measure fair value. The hierarchy gives the highest priority to unadjusted quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities (Level 1 inputs) and the lowest priority to unobservable inputs (Level 3). When indicators of impairment are present and it is determined that the carrying value of the Royalty Trust's overriding royalty interests in the subject interests exceeds the estimated undiscounted cash flows of the subject interest, fair value estimates utilized in the impairment assessment are determined based on inputs not observable in the market and thus represent Level 3 measurements. No impairment charges were recorded during the years ended December 31, 2020, and December 31, 2019.
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2. FORMATION OF THE ROYALTY TRUST
    
On June 3, 2013, Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX) and McMoRan Exploration Co. (MMR) completed the transactions contemplated by the Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated as of December 5, 2012 (the merger agreement), by and among MMR, FCX, and INAVN Corp., a Delaware corporation and indirect wholly owned subsidiary of FCX (Merger Sub). Pursuant to the merger agreement, Merger Sub merged with and into MMR, with MMR surviving the merger as an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of FCX (the merger).

FCX's oil and gas assets are held through its wholly owned subsidiary, FCX Oil & Gas LLC (FM O&G). As a result of the merger, MMR and McMoRan Oil & Gas LLC (McMoRan), MMR's wholly owned operating subsidiary, are both indirect wholly owned subsidiaries of FM O&G.

The Royalty Trust is a statutory trust created as contemplated by the merger agreement by FCX under the Delaware Statutory Trust Act pursuant to a trust agreement entered into on December 18, 2012 (inception), by and among FCX, as depositor, Wilmington Trust, National Association, as Delaware trustee, and certain officers of FCX, as regular trustees. On May 29, 2013, Wilmington Trust, National Association, was replaced by BNY Trust of Delaware, as Delaware trustee (the Delaware Trustee), through an action of the depositor. Effective June 3, 2013, the regular trustees were replaced by The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A., a national banking association, as trustee (the Trustee).

The Royalty Trust was created to hold a 5% gross overriding royalty interest (collectively, the overriding royalty interests) in future production from each of McMoRan's Inboard Lower Tertiary/Cretaceous exploration prospects located in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico and onshore in South Louisiana that existed as of December 5, 2012, the date of the merger agreement (collectively, the subject interests). The subject interests were “carved out” of the mineral interests acquired by FCX pursuant to the merger and were not considered part of FCX's purchase consideration of MMR.

In connection with the merger, on June 3, 2013, (1) FCX, as depositor, McMoRan, as grantor, the Trustee and the Delaware Trustee entered into the amended and restated royalty trust agreement to govern the Royalty Trust and the respective rights and obligations of FCX, the Trustee, the Delaware Trustee, and the Royalty Trust unitholders with respect to the Royalty Trust (the royalty trust agreement); and (2) McMoRan, as grantor, and the Royalty Trust, as grantee, entered into the master conveyance of overriding royalty interests (the master conveyance) pursuant to which McMoRan conveyed to the Royalty Trust the overriding royalty interests in future production from the subject interests. Other than (a) its formation, (b) its receipt of contributions and loans from FCX for administrative and other expenses as provided for in the royalty trust agreement, (c) its payment of such administrative and other expenses, (d) its repayment of loans from FCX, (e) its receipt of the conveyance of the overriding royalty interests from McMoRan pursuant to the master conveyance, (f) its receipt of royalties from McMoRan or HOGA, and (g) its cash dividends to unitholders, if any, the Royalty Trust has not conducted any activities.

On February 5, 2019, McMoRan completed the sale of all of its rights, title and interest in and to the onshore Highlander subject interest pursuant to a purchase and sale agreement with Highlander Oil & Gas Assets LLC (HOGA) (the Highlander Sale). The onshore Highlander subject interest was sold subject to the overriding royalty interest in future production held by the Royalty Trust. As a result of the Highlander Sale, HOGA has a 72 percent working interest and an approximate 48 percent net revenue interest in the onshore Highlander subject interest. The Royalty Trust continues to hold a 3.6 percent overriding royalty interest in the onshore Highlander subject interest. McMoRan was the operator of the onshore Highlander subject interest through May 31, 2019. HOGA qualified and was designated as the operator on June 1, 2019. McMoRan has informed the Trustee that it has no plans to pursue, has relinquished, has allowed to expire or has sold all of its subject interests.

3. OVERRIDING ROYALTY INTERESTS
    
The royalty trust units represent beneficial interests in the Royalty Trust, which holds a 5% gross overriding royalty interest in future production from each of the subject interests during the life of the Royalty Trust. An “overriding” royalty interest in general represents a non-operating interest in an oil and gas property that provides the owner a specified share of production without any related operating expenses or development costs and is carved out of an oil and gas lessee's working or cost-bearing interest in the lease. In contrast, a “working” or “cost-bearing” interest in general represents an operating interest in an oil and gas property that provides the owner a specified share of production that is subject to all production expenses and development costs. An owner of a
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working or cost-bearing interest, subject to the terms of an applicable operating agreement, generally has the right to participate in the selection of a prospect, drilling location or drilling contractor; to propose the drilling of a well; to determine the timing and sequence of drilling operations; to commence or shut down production; to take over operations; or to share in any operating decision. An owner of an overriding royalty interest generally has none of the rights described in the preceding sentence, and neither the Royalty Trust nor the Royalty Trust unitholders have any such rights. The Royalty Trust's 5% gross overriding royalty interest in future production from each subject interest is proportionately reduced based on McMoRan's or HOGA's respective working interest in the subject interest.

The subject interests originally consisted of 20 specified Inboard Lower Tertiary/Cretaceous prospects (with target depths generally greater than 18,000 feet total vertical depth) located in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico and onshore in South Louisiana. As of December 31, 2020, only the onshore Highlander subject interest had established commercial production.

The onshore Highlander subject interest began commercial production on February 25, 2015. Prior to this date there had been no commercial production of hydrocarbons from any of the subject interests. An amortization charge related to production volumes associated with the onshore Highlander subject interest reduced the carrying value of the overriding royalty interests in the subject interests by $214,121 and $471,671 for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. Accumulated amortization was $6,146,894 and $5,932,773 for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively.

The Royalty Trust has no ability to direct or influence the exploration or development of the subject interests. In addition, none of FCX, McMoRan or HOGA is under any obligation to fund or to commit any other resources to the exploration or development of the subject interests. Further, FCX, McMoRan and HOGA each has the right to elect not to participate in drilling or other operations conducted by other working interest owners with respect to the subject interests.
    
The Royalty Trust will dissolve on the earliest to occur of (i) June 3, 2033, (ii) the sale of all of the overriding royalty interests, (iii) the election by the Trustee following its resignation for cause (as more fully described in the royalty trust agreement), (iv) a vote of the holders of 66⅔% or more of the outstanding royalty trust units held by persons other than FCX or any of its affiliates, at a duly called meeting of the Royalty Trust unitholders at which a quorum is present, or (v) the exercise by FCX of the right to call all of the royalty trust units as described in the next paragraph.  The overriding royalty interests terminate upon the termination of the Royalty Trust, other than in certain limited circumstances where the Royalty Trust has been permitted to transfer the overriding royalty interests to a third party pursuant to the terms of the royalty trust agreement (in which case the overriding royalty interests may extend through June 3, 2033).

FCX has a call right with respect to the outstanding royalty trust units at $10 per royalty trust unit. In addition, if the royalty trust units are then listed for trading or admitted for quotation on a national securities exchange or any quotation system and the volume-weighted average price per royalty trust unit is equal to $0.25 or less for the immediately preceding consecutive nine-month period, FCX may purchase all, but not less than all, of the outstanding royalty trust units at a price of $0.25 per royalty trust unit so long as FCX tenders payment within 30 days following the end of such nine-month period.

4. INCOME TAXES
    
Tax counsel to the special committee of the board of directors of MMR advised the Royalty Trust at the time of formation that, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, in its opinion, the Royalty Trust will be treated as a grantor trust and not as an unincorporated business entity. No ruling has been or will be requested from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or another taxing authority. As a grantor trust, the Royalty Trust will not be subject to tax at the Royalty Trust level. Rather, the Royalty Trust unitholders will be considered to own and receive the Royalty Trust's assets and income and will be directly taxable thereon as though no trust were in existence. Under Treasury Regulations, the Royalty Trust is classified as a widely held fixed investment trust. Those Treasury Regulations require the sharing of tax information among trustees and intermediaries that hold a trust interest on behalf of or for the account of a beneficial owner or any representative or agent of a trust interest holder of fixed investment trusts that are classified as widely held fixed investment trusts. These reporting requirements provide for the dissemination of trust tax information by the trustee to intermediaries who are ultimately responsible for reporting the investor-specific information through Form 1099 to the investors and the IRS. Every trustee or intermediary that is required to file a Form 1099 for a trust unitholder must furnish a written tax information
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statement that is in support of the amounts as reported on the applicable Form 1099 to the trust unitholder. Any generic tax information provided by the Trustee of the Royalty Trust is intended to be used only to assist Royalty Trust unitholders in the preparation of their U.S. federal and state income tax returns.

Royalty Trust unitholders should consult their own tax advisors regarding the treatment of the income, gain, loss or deduction derived by the unitholder for the Royalty Trust.
    
5. RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS
    
Royalties. As of December 31, 2020, only the onshore Highlander subject interest had established commercial production. In accordance with the master conveyance, the Royalty Trust received royalties from McMoRan and HOGA of $790,465 and $1,386,064 during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively, resulting from production from the onshore Highlander subject interest. Royalties received by the Royalty Trust must first be used to (i) satisfy Royalty Trust administrative expenses and (ii) reduce Royalty Trust indebtedness. The Royalty Trust had no indebtedness outstanding as of December 31, 2020. Additionally, the Trustee has established a minimum cash reserve of $250,000. As a result, distributions are made to Royalty Trust unitholders only when royalties received less administrative expenses incurred and repayment of any indebtedness exceeds the $250,000 minimum cash reserve. See Note 6.

Funding of Administrative Expenses. Pursuant to the royalty trust agreement, FCX has agreed to pay annual trust expenses up to $350,000, with no right of repayment or interest due, to the extent the Royalty Trust lacks sufficient funds to pay administrative expenses. No such contributions were made during the years ended December 31, 2020, and 2019. In addition to such annual contributions, FCX has agreed to lend money, on an unsecured, interest-free basis, to the Royalty Trust to fund the Royalty Trust's ordinary administrative expenses as set forth in the royalty trust agreement. All funds the Trustee borrows to cover expenses or liabilities, whether from FCX or from any other source, must be repaid before the Royalty Trust unitholders will receive any distributions. No loans or repayments were made during the years ended December 31, 2020, and 2019.

Pursuant to the royalty trust agreement, FCX also agreed to provide and maintain a $1.0 million stand-by reserve account or an equivalent letter of credit for the benefit of the Royalty Trust to enable the Trustee to draw on such reserve account or letter of credit to pay obligations of the Royalty Trust if its funds are inadequate to pay its obligations at any time. Currently, with the consent of the Trustee, FCX may reduce the reserve account or substitute a letter of credit with a different face amount for the original letter of credit or any substitute letter of credit. In connection with this arrangement, FCX has provided $1.0 million in the form of a reserve fund cash account to the Royalty Trust, which amount is reflected as reserve fund cash (and short-term investments) with a corresponding reserve fund liability in the accompanying Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Trust Corpus. The Royalty Trust has not drawn any funds from the reserve account, and FCX has not requested a reduction of such reserve account. For additional information regarding the royalty trust agreement, see Note 2.

Compensation of the Trustee. The Trustee’s annual compensation is $200,000. Additionally, the Trustee receives reimbursement for its reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection with the administration of the Royalty Trust. The Trustee’s compensation is paid out of the Royalty Trust's assets. The Trustee has a lien on the Royalty Trust’s assets to secure payment of its compensation and any indemnification expenses and other amounts to which it is entitled under the royalty trust agreement.

Royalty Trust Units Held by FCX and HOGA. At December 31, 2020, the Royalty Trust had 230,172,696 royalty trust units outstanding. In connection with the Highlander Sale on February 5, 2019, McMoRan assigned 31,143,150 royalty trust units to HOGA and retained 31,143,149 royalty trust units. FCX and HOGA each hold 13.5% of the outstanding royalty trust units.


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6. DISTRIBUTIONS
    
Distributable income totaled $175,164 and $806,028 for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. A summary of quarterly per unit distributions for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 is set forth in the table below.
Three-month period ended:
2020
2019
Amount Per Unit Amount Record Date Payment Date Amount Per Unit Amount Record Date Payment Date
March 31, $ 76,819  $ 0.000334  4/30/2020 5/14/2020 $ 262,187  $ 0.001139  4/30/2019 5/14/2019
June 30, $ 1,702  $ 0.000007  7/30/2020 8/13/2020 $ 243,530  $ 0.001058  7/30/2019 8/13/2019
September 30, $ 25,391  $ 0.000110  10/30/2020 11/13/2020 $ 138,062  $ 0.000600  10/30/2019 11/13/2019
December 31, $ 71,252  $ 0.000310  1/29/2021 2/12/2021 $ 162,249  $ 0.000705  1/30/2020 2/13/2020

On January 15, 2021, the Royalty Trust declared a cash distribution of $0.000310 per unit paid on February 12, 2021, to unitholders of record on January 29, 2021. These distributions are not necessarily indicative of future distributions.
    
Natural gas sales volumes (in thousands of cubic feet, or Mcf), average sales price (per Mcf) and net cash proceeds available for distribution for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, are set forth in the table below.
2020
2019
Natural gas sales volumes (Mcf) (a) 515,278  582,484 
Natural gas average sales price (per Mcf) 1.88  2.71 
Gross proceeds 967,145  1,575,696 
Post-production costs and specified taxes (176,680) (189,632)
Royalty income 790,465  1,386,064 
Interest and dividend income 1,852  8,951 
Administrative expenses (617,153) (588,987)
Income in excess of administrative expenses 175,164  806,028 
Net cash proceeds available for distribution $ 175,164  806,028 

(a)     Attributable to the onshore Highlander subject interest, which is the only subject interest with commercial production.

7. CONTINGENCIES
    
Litigation. There are currently no pending legal proceedings to which the Royalty Trust is a party.

8. SUBSEQUENT EVENTS

On January 15, 2021, the Royalty Trust declared a cash distribution of $0.000310 per unit paid on February 12, 2021, to unitholders of record on January 29, 2021.

The Royalty Trust evaluated all other events subsequent to December 31, 2020, and through the date the Royalty Trusts financial statements were issued, and determined that all events or transactions occurring during this period requiring recognition or disclosure were appropriately addressed in these financial statements.

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9. SUPPLEMENTARY OIL AND GAS INFORMATION (UNAUDITED)
    
Proved Natural Gas Reserve Information. The following information summarizes the net proved reserves of natural gas and the standardized measure as described below. All of the Royalty Trust's reserves are natural gas reserves and are located in the U.S.

The Royalty Trust believes the reserve estimates presented herein, in accordance with generally accepted engineering and evaluation principles consistently applied, are reasonable. However, there are numerous uncertainties inherent in estimating quantities and values of proved reserves and in projecting future rates of production, including many factors beyond the Royalty Trust's control. Reserve engineering is a subjective process of estimating the recovery from underground accumulations of natural gas that cannot be measured in an exact manner, and the accuracy of any reserve estimate is a function of the quality of available data and of engineering and geological interpretation and judgment. Because all natural gas reserve estimates are to some degree subjective, the quantities of natural gas that are ultimately recovered, production and specified post-production costs and taxes allowable under the trust agreement and future natural gas sales prices may all differ from those assumed in these estimates. In addition, different reserve engineers may make different estimates of reserve quantities and cash flows based upon the same available data. Therefore, the standardized measure of discounted future net cash flows (Standardized Measure) shown below represents estimates only and should not be construed as the current market value of the estimated reserves attributable to the overriding royalty interest associated with the subject interests. In this regard, the information set forth in the following tables includes revisions of reserve estimates attributable to proved properties and any adjustments in the projected economic life of such properties resulting from changes in product prices.
    
Decreases in the prices of natural gas could have an adverse effect on the carrying value of the proved reserves, reserve volumes and revenues, profitability and cash flows. The Royalty Trust's reference price for reserve determination is the Henry Hub spot price for natural gas.
Natural Gas
(MMcf)(a)
2020
2019
Proved reserves:
Balance at beginning of year 1,940  1,376 
Revisions of previous estimates(b)
98  1,146 
Extensions and discoveries —  — 
Acquisition of reserves in-place —  — 
Sale of reserves in-place —  — 
Purchase of reserves in-place —  — 
Production (515) (582)
Balance at end of year 1,523  1,940 
Proved developed reserves at end of year 1,523  1,940 
Proved undeveloped reserves at end of year —  — 

(a)     MMcf = millions of cubic feet.
(b)    For the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, positive revisions associated with the onshore Highlander subject interest were primarily due to positive well performance for the Highlander well.

Standardized Measure. The Standardized Measure (discounted at 10%) from production of proved natural gas reserves has been developed as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, in accordance with SEC guidelines. HOGA estimated the quantity of proved natural gas reserves associated with the overriding royalty interests in the subject interests as well as the future periods in which they are expected to be produced based on year-end economic conditions. Estimates of future net revenues from the Royalty Trust's proved natural gas properties and the present value thereof were made using the twelve-month average of the first-day-of-the-month historical reference prices as adjusted for location and quality differentials, which are held constant throughout the life of the properties, except where such guidelines permit alternate treatment, including the use of fixed and determinable contractual
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price escalations. Future gross revenues were reduced by estimated specified post-production costs and taxes in accordance with the trust agreement. Future income taxes are not presented given the Royalty Trust's status as a non-taxable “pass through” entity. See Note 4.
The average realized sales price used in the Royalty Trust's reserve report, was $1.95 per Mcf of natural gas as of December 31, 2020 and $2.55 per Mcf of natural gas as of December 31, 2019.
    
The Standardized Measure related to proved reserves as of December 31 is presented below:
2020 2019
Future cash inflows $ 2,972,100  $ 4,944,400 
Future costs applicable to future cash flows:
Production costs (primarily production and ad valorem taxes) (766,000) (905,800)
Development and abandonment costs —  — 
Future income taxes(a)
—  — 
Future net cash flows 2,206,100  4,038,600 
Discount for estimated timing of net cash flows (10% discount rate)(b)
(398,800) (794,100)
Standardized measure $ 1,807,300  $ 3,244,500 

(a)No taxes are presented given the Royalty Trust's status as a non-taxable “pass-through” entity. See Note 4.

(b)Amounts reflect application of the required 10% discount rate to the estimated future net cash flows associated with production of estimated proved reserves.

A summary of the principal sources of changes in the Standardized Measure for the years ended December 31 is presented below:
2020 2019
Balance at beginning of year $ 3,244,500  $ 3,132,300 
Sales, net of production expenses (790,465) (1,386,064)
Net change in prices and production expenses (952,631) (507,604)
Extensions, discoveries and improved recoveries —  — 
Changes in estimated future development costs —  — 
Previously estimated development costs incurred during the year —  — 
Sales of reserves in-place —  — 
Revisions of quantity estimates 113,792  2,117,260 
Changes due to timing and other (132,346) (424,622)
Accretion of discount 324,450  313,230 
Net change in income taxes —  — 
Balance at end of year $ 1,807,300  $ 3,244,500 


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Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
    
Not Applicable.

Item 9A. Controls and Procedures

Disclosure Controls and Procedures

Evaluation of disclosure controls and procedures. The Royalty Trust has no employees, and, therefore, does not have a principal executive officer or principal financial officer. Accordingly, the Trustee is responsible for making the evaluations, assessments and conclusions required pursuant to this Item 9A. The Trustee has evaluated the effectiveness of the Royalty Trust’s “disclosure controls and procedures” (as defined in Rules 13a-15(e) and 15d-15(e) under the Exchange Act) as of the end of the period covered by this Form 10-K. Based on this evaluation, the Trustee has concluded that the Royalty Trust’s disclosure controls and procedures are effective as of the end of the period covered by this Form 10-K.

Due to the nature of the Royalty Trust as a passive entity and in light of the contractual arrangements pursuant to which the Royalty Trust was created, including the provisions of (i) the amended and restated royalty trust agreement and (ii) the master conveyance, the Royalty Trust's disclosure controls and procedures necessarily rely on (A) information provided by FCX or HOGA, including information relating to results of operations, the costs and revenues attributable to the subject interests and other operating and historical data, plans for future operating and capital expenditures, reserve information, information relating to projected production, and other information relating to the status and results of operations of the subject interests and the overriding royalty interests, and (B) conclusions and reports regarding reserves by the Royalty Trust's independent reserve engineers.
    
Internal Control Over Financial Reporting

(a) Trustees Annual Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting. The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A., as Trustee of the Royalty Trust, is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting, as such term is defined in Rule 13a-15(f) and 15d-15(f) promulgated under the Exchange Act. The Trustee conducted an evaluation of the effectiveness of the Royalty Trusts internal control over financial reporting based on the criteria established in Internal Control - Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (2013 Framework) (the “COSO criteria”). Based on the Trustees evaluation under the COSO criteria, the Trustee concluded that the Royalty Trusts internal control over financial reporting was effective as of December 31, 2020.

Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.

(b) Changes in Internal Control over Financial Reporting. During the quarter ended December 31, 2020, there has been no change in the Royalty Trust's internal control over financial reporting that has materially affected, or is reasonably likely to materially affect, the Royalty Trust's internal control over financial reporting. The Trustee notes for purposes of clarification that it has no authority over, and makes no statement concerning, the internal control over financial reporting of FCX or HOGA.

Item 9B. Other Information
    
Not Applicable.

PART III

Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance
    
The Royalty Trust has no directors, officers or employees, and, therefore, the Royalty Trust has not adopted a Code of Ethics and the Royalty Trust does not have an audit committee or nominating committee. The Royalty Trust is administered by the Trustee pursuant to the royalty trust agreement. The royalty trust agreement grants the
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Trustee only the rights and powers necessary to achieve the purposes of the Royalty Trust. For more information on the rights and duties of the Trustee, see Part I, Items 1. and 2. “Business and Properties - The Royalty Trust - The Royalty Trust Agreement - Duties and Limited Powers of the Trustee” of this Form 10-K.

Item 11. Executive Compensation
    
The Royalty Trust has no directors, officers or employees. For information regarding the compensation paid to the Trustee, see Part I, Items 1. and 2. “Business and Properties - The Royalty Trust - The Royalty Trust Agreement - Compensation of the Trustee” of this Form 10-K. The Royalty Trust does not have a board of directors, and it does not have a compensation committee.

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Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Royalty Trust Unitholder Matters

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners

Based on filings with the SEC and any information that FCX has provided to the Trustee, the table below shows the beneficial owners of more than 5% of the outstanding royalty trust units. Unless otherwise indicated, all information is presented as of December 31, 2020, and all royalty trust units beneficially owned are held with sole voting and investment power.
Name and Address of Beneficial Owner Total Number
of Royalty Trust Units
Beneficially Owned
Percent of Outstanding Royalty Trust Units(a)
Neil S. Subin
3300 South Dixie Highway
Suite 1-365
West Palm Beach, FL 33405 45,228,326 
(b)
19.6%
Highlander Oil & Gas Assets LLC
Magnolia Oil & Gas Corporation
9 Greenway Plaza, Suite 1400
Houston, TX 77046 31,143,150 
(c)
13.5%
Freeport-McMoRan Inc.
McMoRan Oil & Gas LLC
333 North Central Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85004 31,143,149 
(d)
13.5%
Leon G. Cooperman
11431 W. Palmetto Park Road
Boca Raton, FL 33428 21,651,695
(e)
9.4%
Akanthos Capital Management, LLC
21700 Oxnard Street, Suite 1730
Woodland Hills, CA 91367 16,135,696 
(f)
7.0%

(a)Based on 230,172,696 royalty trust units outstanding as of December 31, 2020.

(b)Based on a Schedule 13G filed with the SEC on January 23, 2018, by Neil S. Subin in his individual capacity and as president and manager of MILFAM, LLC, which serves as manager, general partner, or investment advisor of a number of entities formerly managed or advised by the late Lloyd I. Miller, III. Mr. Subin has (a) sole voting and investment power over 44,965,980 of the royalty trust units reported and (b) shared voting and investment power over 262,346 of the royalty trust units reported.

(c)Based on a Schedule 13G filed with the SEC on March 15, 2019 by HOGA and Magnolia Oil & Gas Corporation (“Magnolia”). HOGA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Highlander Oil & Gas Holdings LLC. MGY Louisiana LLC holds approximately 85% of the units in Highlander Oil & Gas Holdings LLC. MGY Louisiana LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Magnolia Oil & Gas Operating LLC, which is a wholly owned subsidiary
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of Magnolia Oil & Gas Intermediate LLC, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Magnolia Oil & Gas Parent LLC, whose managing member is Magnolia. HOGA and Magnolia have shared voting and investment power over all of the royalty trust units reported. Magnolia's address is Nine Greenway Plaza, Suite 1300, Houston, TX 77046.

(d)Based on an amended Schedule 13G/A filed with the SEC on February 12, 2020 by FCX and McMoRan.

(e)Based on an amended Schedule 13G filed with the SEC on November 13, 2015, by Leon G. Cooperman, on his own behalf and on behalf of affiliated investment firms and managed accounts identified therein. Mr. Cooperman represents that he has sole voting and investment power over 5,000,000 royalty trust units. Mr. Cooperman subsequently filed an amended Form 4 on December 4, 2015, reporting 21,651,695 royalty trust units held in managed accounts and private investment entities over which he has investment discretion but disclaims beneficial ownership except to the extent of his pecuniary interest therein.

(f)Based on a Schedule 13G filed with the SEC on February 14, 2018, by Akanthos Capital Management, LLC. According to the filing, the Akanthos Capital Management, LLC has sole voting and investment power with respect to 16,135,696 royalty trust units and no shared voting or investment power with respect to royalty trust units; all securities reported are owned by the reporting person's advisory clients, none of which to the reporting person's knowledge owns more than 5% of the total outstanding royalty trust units.

The Royalty Trust has no directors, executive officers or employees, and therefore, has no equity compensation plans and no ownership of management to report. The Trustee knows of no arrangement, including the pledge of royalty trust units, the operation of which may at a subsequent date result in a change in control of the Royalty Trust.

Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence
    
Other than (a) its formation, (b) its receipt of contributions and loans from FCX for administrative and other expenses as provided for in the royalty trust agreement, (c) its payment of such administrative and other expenses, (d) its repayment of loans from FCX, (e) its receipt of the conveyance of the overriding royalty interests from McMoRan and HOGA pursuant to the master conveyance, (f) its receipt of royalties from McMoRan and HOGA, and (g) its cash distributions to unitholders, if any, the Royalty Trust has not conducted any activities.

Funding of Administrative Expenses. Pursuant to the royalty trust agreement, FCX has agreed to pay annual trust expenses up to $350,000, with no right of repayment or interest due, to the extent the Royalty Trust lacks sufficient funds to pay administrative expenses. No such contributions were made during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019. In addition to such annual contributions, FCX has agreed to lend money, on an unsecured, interest-free basis, to the Royalty Trust to fund the Royalty Trust's ordinary administrative expenses as set forth in the royalty trust agreement. All funds the Trustee borrows to cover expenses or liabilities, whether from FCX or from any other source, must be repaid before the Royalty Trust unitholders will receive any distributions. No loans or repayments were made during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019.

Pursuant to the royalty trust agreement, FCX also agreed to provide and maintain a $1.0 million stand-by reserve account or an equivalent letter of credit for the benefit of the Royalty Trust to enable the Trustee to draw on such reserve account or letter of credit to pay obligations of the Royalty Trust if its funds are inadequate to pay its obligations at any time. Currently, with the consent of the Trustee, FCX may reduce the reserve account or substitute a letter of credit with a different face amount for the original letter of credit or any substitute letter of credit. In connection with this arrangement, FCX has provided $1.0 million in the form of a reserve fund cash account to the Royalty Trust, which amount is reflected as reserve fund cash (and short-term investments) with a corresponding reserve fund liability in the accompanying Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Trust Corpus. The Royalty Trust has not drawn any funds from the reserve account, and FCX has not requested a reduction of such reserve account. For additional information regarding the royalty trust agreement, see Note 2 to the Notes to Financial Statements located in Part II, Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this Form 10-K.

Compensation of the Trustee. The Trustee’s annual compensation is $200,000. Additionally, the Trustee receives reimbursement for its reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection with the administration of the Royalty Trust. In the event of litigation involving the Royalty Trust, audits or inspection of the records of the Royalty Trust pertaining to the transactions affecting the Royalty Trust or any other unusual or extraordinary
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services rendered in connection with the administration of the Royalty Trust, the Trustee would be entitled to receive additional reasonable compensation for the services rendered, including the payment of the Trustee’s standard rates for all time spent by personnel of the Trustee on such matters. The Trustee’s compensation is paid out of the Royalty Trust's assets. The Trustee has a lien on the Royalty Trust’s assets to secure payment of its compensation and any indemnification expenses and other amounts to which it is entitled under the royalty trust agreement.

Royalty Trust Units Held by FCX and HOGA. At December 31, 2020, the Royalty Trust had 230,172,696 royalty trust units outstanding. In connection with the Highlander sale on February 5, 2019, FCX, through its indirect wholly owned subsidiary McMoRan, assigned 31,143,150 royalty trust units to HOGA and retained 31,143,149 royalty trust units. FCX and HOGA each hold 13.5% of the outstanding royalty trust units.

The Royalty Trust has no directors.

Item 14. Principal Accountant Fees and Services
Fees and Related Disclosures for Accounting Services
    The following table discloses the fees for professional services billed to the Royalty Trust by Ernst & Young LLP in each of the last two fiscal years:    
2020 2019
Audit Fees $ 170,000  $ 170,000 
Audit-Related Fees —  — 
Tax Fees —  — 
All Other Fees —  — 

    The Royalty Trust has no audit committee, and as a result, has no audit committee pre-approval policies and procedures with respect to fees paid to Ernst & Young LLP. Any pre-approval or approval of any services performed by the principal auditor or any other professional service firms and related fees are granted by the Trustee.

PART IV

Item 15. Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

(a)(1)    Financial Statements. Reference is made to Part II, Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this Form 10-K.

(a)(2)    Financial Statement Schedules. All financial statement schedules are either not required under the related instructions or are not applicable because the information has been included elsewhere herein.

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(a)(3)    Exhibits.
Filed or
Furnished
Exhibit with this Incorporated by Reference
Number Exhibit Title Form 10-K Form File No. Date Filed
Composite Certificate of Trust of Gulf Coast Ultra Deep Royalty Trust 10-Q 333-185742 August 14, 2013
Description of Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 10-K 001-36386 March 20, 2020
Master Conveyance of Overriding Royalty Interest by and between McMoRan Oil & Gas LLC and Gulf Coast Ultra Deep Royalty Trust, dated as of June 3, 2013 8-K 333-185742 June 4, 2013
Amended and Restated Royalty Trust Agreement of Gulf Coast Ultra Deep Royalty Trust, dated as of June 3, 2013 8-K 333-185742 June 4, 2013
Consent of Netherland, Sewell & Associates, Inc. X
Certification pursuant to Rule 13a-14(a)/15d-14(a) X
Certification pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 1350 X
Report of Netherland, Sewell & Associates, Inc. X

Item 16. Form 10-K Summary

    Not applicable.

GLOSSARY

In this report the following terms have the meanings specified below.

British thermal unit or Btu. The amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
    
Gross acre. An acre in which McMoRan or HOGA owns a working interest.

MMBtu. Million British thermal units

MMcf. Million cubic feet of natural gas.
    
Net acre. Deemed to exist when the sum of the fractional ownership working interests in gross acres equals one. The number of net acres is the sum of the fractional working interests owned in gross acres expressed as whole numbers and fractions of whole numbers.

Overriding royalty interest. A revenue interest, created out of a working interest, that entitles its owner to a share of revenues, free of any operating or production costs. An overriding royalty is often retained by a lessee assigning an oil and gas lease.

Productive well. An exploratory, development, or extension well that is not a dry well. Productive wells include producing wells and wells mechanically capable of production.

Prospect. A specific geographic area which, based on supporting geological, geophysical or other data and also preliminary economic analysis using reasonably anticipated prices and costs, is deemed to have potential for the discovery of commercial hydrocarbons.

Proved reserves. Those quantities of oil and natural gas, which, by analysis of geoscience and engineering data, can be estimated with reasonable certainty to be economically producible—from a given date forward, from known reservoirs, and under existing economic conditions, operating methods, and government regulations—prior to the time at which contracts providing the right to operate expire, unless evidence indicates that renewal is
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reasonably certain, regardless of whether deterministic or probabilistic methods are used for the estimation. The project to extract the hydrocarbons must have commenced or the operator must be reasonably certain that it will commence the project within a reasonable time.

Reservoir. A porous and permeable underground formation containing a natural accumulation of producible oil and/or natural gas that is confined by impermeable rock or water barriers and is individual and separate from other reservoirs.

Working interest. An interest in an oil and gas lease that gives the owner of the interest the right to drill for and produce oil and gas on the leased acreage and requires the owner to pay a share of the costs of drilling and production operations.

For additional information regarding the definitions contained in this Glossary, and for other oil and gas definitions, please see Rule 4-10 of Regulation S-X.

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SIGNATURES

Pursuant to the requirements of Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned, thereunto duly authorized.
Gulf Coast Ultra Deep Royalty Trust
By: The Bank of New York Mellon
Trust Company, N.A., as Trustee
By: /s/ Sarah C. Newell
Sarah C. Newell
Vice President
Date: March 23, 2021



The Registrant, Gulf Coast Ultra Deep Royalty Trust, has no principal executive officer, principal financial officer, controller or principal accounting officer, board of directors or persons performing similar functions. Accordingly, no additional signatures are available and none have been provided. In signing the report above, the Trustee does not imply that it has performed any such function or that any such function exists pursuant to the terms of the amended and restated royalty trust agreement, dated June 3, 2013, under which it serves.


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