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As the case of the Ecuadorian people against Chevron Corp continues to stumble along its long windy route towards some form of a conclusion, the latest twist sees the plaintiffs looking to seize as much as $2 billion of Chevron’s assets in Argentina.
Last year an Ecuadorian court told Chevron that they must pay $18.7 billion in damages for the environmental contamination, and resulting illnesses amongst the local population, that Texaco (now Chevron) had caused during its time in the country from 1972 to 1990.
Chevron is refusing to pay, claiming that the entire trial was a case of fraud. They say that in 1998 Texaco settled with the Ecuadorian government, paying for a $40 million cleanup of the area, a move that absolved it of all further liability; and that much of the damage since as a result of Ecuador’s state-run oil company.
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Chevron announced that “the Ecuador judgment is a product of bribery, fraud, and it is illegitimate. The company does not believe that the Ecuador judgment is enforceable in any court that observes the rule of law.”
Chevron is a major company in Argentina, producing around 26,000 barrels of crude and four million cubic feet of natural gas a day. It is important to Argentina’s energy future, and may find President Cristina Fernandez on their side in the case, reducing the chances that it will be successful.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com