Chevron: Claim for Environmental Damages in Ecuador Rises to $27 Billion (CVX)

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When Chevron (NYSE:CVX) swallowed Texaco a few years back, one of the morsels it ingested was a claim for environmental damage to several Texaco drilling sites in Ecuador. Unlike Chevron’s recent exoneration in a US court for complicity in the killing of two Nigerian protesters, the Ecuadorian case is being tried in Ecuador at Chevron’s request.

Recent materials provided to the court have increased the damage claimfrom $16 billion to $27 billion. The increase, according to the AmazonDefense Coalition, includes an additional $9.5 billion in compensationfor 1,401 deaths related to the dumping of toxic waste, about $3.2billion to clean up groundwater, and about $1 billion to remediatecontaminated soil at Texaco waste pits.

Chevron disputes the original claim for $16 billion, claiming that thedamage reports are not binding, were incorrectly prepared, and violatedthe court’s orders. The company has made no estimate of potentiallosses in this case nor has it reserved any funds to pay damages, so ithad better win.

Paul Ausick
December 2, 2008