Occidental Ecuador Suit Looms

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It seems Chevron is not the only U.S. major involved in legal wranglings with Ecuador, the smallest OPEC member by production. A case brought by Occidental Petroleum, the fourth-largest U.S. oil company, against Ecuador is scheduled to be heard in Washington on June 30.

California-based Occidental (OXY) is seeking $3.2 billion in damages from Ecuador related to the country's 2006 decision to void Occidental's operating contract. Occidental filed the claim with the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, or ICSID, in July 2006, according to Dow Jones.

Occidental claims Ecuador violated a bilateral investment treaty with the U.S. by illegally nullifying its exploration rights and expropriating its assets, Dow Jones reported. For its part, the Ecuadorean government maintains it did not violate its contract with Occidental and that it did nothing wrong.

Chevron (CVX), the second-largest U.S. oil company, is currently mired in a legal battle with Ecuadorean plaintiffs. The company is fighting an $18 billion judgment awarded by an Ecuadorean court that contends Chevron is liable for pollution committed by Texaco in Ecuador's Amazon region. Chevron acquired Texaco over a decade ago and currently has no operations in Ecuador.