Chevron awarded $96 million in Ecuador case
BY MERCEDES ALVARO
QUITO -- A United States district judge for the District of Columbia has confirmed an award of $96.35 million to Chevron issued by an international tribunal in The Hague in August 2011.
In a document, reviewed by Dow Jones Newswires, Judge James E. Boasberg said judgment for Chevron is entered in the amount of $96.35 million plus compound interest calculated at the New York annual prime rate.
The award is related to seven commercial claims filed from 1991 to 1993 by Texaco Petroleum for alleged violations of the Bilateral Investment Treaty between Ecuador and the United States Chevron bought Texaco in 2001.
The United States Company filed the international arbitration case in December 2006 under the rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law.
Ecuador has been seeking to have the award granted to Chevron annulled, saying that The Hague court doesn' t have jurisdiction to hear the case. It also has said that the District of Columbia court lacks jurisdiction and asked the court to deny the Chevron request because the award was beyond the scope of the submission to arbitration and is contrary to United States public policy.
The Andean country, according to the judge, also asked the court "at a minimum" to stay proceedings in the matter while Ecuador attempts to have the award set aside by courts in the Netherlands, where the award was rendered.
Disagreeing on all fronts, the court will deny Ecuador' s request and grant Chevron' s petition to confirm the award Judge Boasberg said.
The judge said that both the tribunal in The Hague and the court found that Ecuador did consent to arbitrate the dispute.
Ecuador' s attorney general wasn' t available for comment.
Chevron has said due to a "politicized judicial system" in Ecuador, the company has had to seek solutions before international courts.
Chevron spokesman James Craig said the District of Columbia court decision shows that Ecuador can be held accountable for their obligations under international laws. "Chevron will continue to seek the fulfillment of the agreements signed by Ecuador and its state oil company, Petroecuador" Mr. Craig said.
This case is separate from Chevron' s multibillion dollar legal battle in Ecuador, where Texaco was accused of contaminating rain forests with toxic petroleum waste during its operations there, a claim rejected by Chevron. Chevron is trying to overturn a $19 billion environmental judgment against it.
Dow Jones Newswires