Chevron Corp on Tuesday lost a US Supreme Court bid to block an US$18.2 billion judgement against it in Ecuador in a case over pollution in the Amazon jungle.
The US Supreme Court did not give any explanation for its decision, which rejected Chevron’s appeal of a lower court ruling. The lower court in January had thrown out an injunction blocking enforcement of the Ecuadoran judgement.
The decision is the latest in a nearly two-decade conflict between the No. 2 US oil company and residents of Ecuador’s Lago Agrio region over claims that Texaco, bought by Chevron in 2001, contaminated the area from 1964 to 1992. The battle has spawned litigation in numerous courts both inside and outside the US.
Oil companies are watching the case closely because it may affect other cases accusing companies of polluting the areas where they operate.
Chevron claims that the judgement, imposed by an Ecuadoran court in February last year, was fraudulent and unenforceable under New York law.
Chevron’s shares were up US$0.32 at US$117.94 on Tuesday afternoon.
The company is pursuing a racketeering suit against a New York attorney, Steven Donziger, a group of Ecuadorans and environmental groups that helped win the judgment, accusing them of intimidation and extortion.
It has also challenged the judgement before an international arbitration panel under a trade agreement between the US and Ecuador.