Chevron Corp. on Wednesday filed suit against the government of Ecuador for trade violations, an effort to protect against a potentially negative ruling in a separate $27 billion suit over environmental damage.
Chevron accuses Ecuador of "exploitation" for its pursuit of an ongoing lawsuit over environmental damage the plaintiffs allege Texaco caused in the Amazon rain forest between 1972 and 1990. Chevron, the second-largest U.S. oil company, acquired Texaco in 2001.
Chevron claims Texaco already paid millions to clean up the region as part of a 1998 agreement with the government and is not liable for further damages. Company officials also have said Texaco's former partner, state oil company Petroecuador, continued to pollute the region after Texaco departed.
Chevron's complaint against Ecuador was filed with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands. It effectively seeks international arbitration of the environmental dispute, which would be legally binding.
In the filing, Chevron says Ecuador is trying to shift its own share of liability for any remaining environmental damage to Chevron, as well as liability for Petroecuador's own oil operations since 1992 and damage caused by "government-sanctioned colonization and agricultural and industrial exploitation of the Amazonian region." It says the nation's conduct has violated investment agreements and Ecuador-U.S. trade agreements.