An international tribunal that will weigh in on Chevron’s two-decade dispute over pollution in Ecuador has set a time line that runs into 2014, according to a regulatory filing on Thursday.
The panel, formed via The Hague's Permanent
Court of Arbitration under the UN Commission on International Trade Law, is
hearing a dispute over whether Ecuador violated a treaty with the US requiring
it to guarantee Chevron a fair trial.
An Ecuador court ruled against Chevron in
February 2011. Last week, damages stemming from that hotly contested decision
were increased to $19 billion from $18.2 billion.
Chevron said the international tribunal will
hear by late November about the scope of a 1998 settlement and release
agreement given by Ecuador's government to Texaco, the company that operated in
Ecuador, Reuters reported.
Chevron, based in San Ramon, California, east
of San Francisco, purchased Texaco in 2001.
"On July 9, 2012, the Tribunal indicated
that it wanted to hear the remaining issues in January 2014," Chevron
disclosed in its quarterly filing with the US Securities and Exchange
Commission on Thursday, according to the news wire.
Ecuador's attorney general has argued the
tribunal has no jurisdiction because the bilateral trade agreement between the US
and his country went into effect five years after Texaco ended operations in
Ecuador in 1992.
But earlier this year, the three-person
panel reinforced its interim order that Ecuador suspend court-awarded payments
of claims against Texaco, which was accused of polluting the rainforest and
sickening people there. Some of those residents sued the company.
Chevron says it uncovered through US courts
evidence of fraud by lawyers for the Ecuadorean plaintiffs, which the lawyers
The second-largest US oil company is pursuing racketeering and fraud charges
against the plaintiffs and their attorneys, and a New York judge ruled this
week the fraud case could go ahead.
Meanwhile, since Chevron has no assets in
Ecuador, the Ecuadorean plaintiffs have launched legal actions in Canada and Brazil
to enforce their $19 billion award. Their spokeswoman says the New York case is
"irrelevant" to the other actions.
Anticipating such a global legal battle,
Chevron filed for the arbitration in September 2009. The panel includes a
Chevron-named member, Horacio Grigera Naon of the American University law
college, one named by Ecuador, Oxford Professor Vaughan Lowe, and London lawyer
V.V. Veeder, chosen by the other two.