The Argentine unit of U.S. energy company Chevron said on Thursday its operations were being hit by a court embargo on up to $19 billion worth of company assets, part of an environmental lawsuit by Ecuadorean villagers. ID:nL1E8M7IVV]
"We're asking for this embargo to be lifted as soon as possible in order to avert its negative impact on the country, the government, the company and the future of Argentina's energy industry," the company said in a statement published in Argentine newspapers.
"The judicial embargo hampers Chevron Argentina's capacity to operate and re-invest because it affects more than 90 percent of income from crude sales," it added. Chevron Argentina produces about 5 percent of the country's crude.
An Ecuadorean court last year ordered Chevron Corp to pay the enormous sum for contamination of watersheds over nearly 30 years that the plaintiffs say sickened indigenous tribespeople and farmers in the Ecuadorean Amazon.
Chevron has refused to make any payments and accuses Ecuadorean courts of fraud. Because the company has few assets in the Andean nation, the plaintiffs are seeking enforcement of the ruling in other countries including Brazil and Canada.