According to March 11, 2013 article in the Latin American Herald, US Oil Giant Chevron has let it be known that they are open to mediation with Ecuador by one of two well known Latin American organizations, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) or the Union of South American Nations (Unasur). Mediation with Ecuador
Reporting from Caracas, the Latin American Herald stated that the oil company has contacted the Ecuadorian government, President Rafael Correa and Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño easing the way for executives to engage in “ a direct discussion with Quito,” Chevron Africa and Latin America president Ali Moshiri said in an interview with the Venezuelan daily El Universal.
Until now, Chevron has taken a hard line with Ecuador based on their belief that they had met the terms of their agreement with the Ecuadoran government and were responsible for no further cleanup. However, it appears that an unexpected level of solidarity between Latin American nations has convinced Chevron that it needs to reopen the discussions if they hope to continue activities in a host of other countries where the company currently enjoys a good working relationship.“We are open to having organizations like ALBA or Unasur play a role,” Moshiri said, adding that Chevron “has a good relationship with every country in Latin America.”
In 2011 Chevron was ordered by an Ecuadorian court to pay $19 billion for irreversible environmental damage caused in the Amazon between 1964 and the early 1990s by Texaco, which was acquired by Chevron in the early 1990’s. A lot of strategic maneuvering took place during the first years after the filing of the suit with Chevron at first moving the venue for the trial from the US to Ecuador under very loud protests from the environmental community because they feared that the change of venue was spurred by a plan to take advantage of the corrupt atmosphere existing in Ecuador. However, shortly after the change of venue was approved an election driven by voter anger over corruption at the highest levels of government swept current President Raphael Correa into power and Chevron found itself hoisted with its own petard.
The case pits 30,000 Amazon villagers who contend Texaco spoiled their lands and damaged their health by dumping billions of gallons of toxic drilling waste in a 480,000-hectare (1,850-sq.-mile) area of the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Because Chevron has almost no assets remaining in Ecuador, after pulling out in 2010, the plaintiffs are seeking to attach Chevron assets in other South American Countries where there are assets.
Charges have flown back and forth between the parties with Chevron alleging that the suit is nothing more than a way for American lawyers to extort money from Chevron and the Plaintiffs alleging that Texaco and Chevron have pulled a typical bait and switch by changing company names, locations and playing every political game possible to avoid responsibility for the fact that thay have left large portions of the Amazon toxic wastelands, unable to be responsibly used to generate sustainable livings for the people of the region.
Irrespective of who actually holds the moral high ground on this issue, there is no questions that large portions of the Amazon basin have been infected with a toxic brew of oil and only remediation will allow them to once again provide a sustainable way of life for the people of this region. So it comes as good news that Chevron has opened itself up to the idea of settlement.
MOP Distributor APD Proyectos has worked very hard for the past three years to position itself as an honest broker in the region when it comes to cleanup efforts. Without taking sides in the political battle APD has focused on the science and identifying ways in which MOP sorbents can be responsibly used to effect the most cost effective and performance efficient cleanup.
APD’s recent approval as a Vendor for PetroAmazonas, the state run oil company of Ecuador means that MOP products will have a place at the table in the range of solutions.
In addition to this, an extension of the Distribution agreement between MOP and APD Proyectos will have APD Establishing its own manufacturing facility in Ecuador so that MOP Booms, pillows and other products will be manufactured in Ecuador, giving MOP the advantage of an Ecuador-made product.
Recent “Buy-Local” laws have been passed by many South American countries giving preference to products that are manufactured in country. MOP’s licensing of APD to both distribute as well as manufacture many of the products will give it a “home country” advantage where these laws exist.. MOP will ship bulk absorbent to APD and APD will manufacture booms, socks, pillows, spill kits and other products. There are also ongoing discussions regarding having other equipment built in Ecuador.