Chevron in Ecuador

The archive of the Clean Up Ecuador campaign website

Chevron's Argentina Woes Deeper Than Thought, Reports Trade Publication

Amazon Defense Coalition

Amazon Defense Coalition
16 November 2012 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Karen Hinton at +1.703.798.3109

Buenos Aires, Argentina – Chevron is in even deeper trouble than thought in Argentina after a judge there froze the oil giant's assets to comply with a $19 billion court judgment in Ecuador, according to reporting by Platts' Oilgram, a leading oil industry trade publication.

Chevron has appealed the freeze order, which was executed under a treaty signed by several Latin American nations designed to block defendants from fleeing jurisdictions where they face liability.

In an article published this week, Platts reported that Chevron has been considering making major new investments in Argentina that could be scuttled by the court action. Chevron already produces an estimated 30,000 barrels of crude daily in the country, part of an array of assets that produce $600 million annually in revenue.

But the impact on Chevron in Argentina could be far larger, according to the story.

Among the highlights:

  • Chevron had signed a Memorandum of Understanding in September with Argentina's state-owned oil company to develop a huge oil shale project called Vaca Muerta. With the freeze order, it appears that Chevron's involvement in the project will have to put on hold.
  • Chevron had announced last August that it plans to drill 120 new wells in Argentina over the next three years, spending $1.8 billion on a program that was supposed to include exploration for "unconventional" resources.

The court embargo "could set back future investments from Chevron in Argentina" according to analysts quoted by the publication.

"This could have a major impact on Chevron becoming a partner ... in Vaca Muerta," said Enrique Devoto, the former national energy secretary of the country.

In a separate blog posting, representatives of the rainforest communities pointed out that the Argentina freeze order could have a dramatic effect on Chevron's investment opportunities in other countries around the world where asset seizure actions are pending because of the oil giant's refusal to pay the Ecuador judgment.

The Ecuadorian communities also have seizure actions pending against Chevron in Canada, Brazil, and Ecuador and plan to file in more in Latin American in the coming weeks, said Pablo Fajardo, the lead lawyer on the case.

Chevron likely will be losing investment opportunities in those countries as well as long as the court cases are pending, said Fajardo.

"Countries where Chevron should be investing on equal footing with its peers are falling off the map because of the added risk created by the failure to get ahead of the Ecuador case," wrote the blog.