Bloomberg News

Ecuador Seeks $504 Million From ConocoPhillips in Dispute

October 10, 2011

(Updates Attorney General’s comment in fourth paragraph.)

Oct. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Ecuador said it’s suing a ConocoPhillips subsidiary for $504 million as part of a dispute over alleged environmental damage caused by the company’s oil operations in the South American country.

Ecuador wants $488 million to clean up areas in the Amazon region where subsidiary Burlington Resources Oriente Ltd. operated and an additional $16 million to repair drilling infrastructure, the Attorney General said today in an e-mailed statement. The agency filed its lawsuit against the company on Sept. 30.

The lawsuit against Burlington is part of an arbitration case at the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes after Ecuador seized the company’s oil fields over a tax dispute in 2009. Burlington was a minority partner with France’s Perenco SA in the Block 21 and Block 7 concession areas in the northeast.

Ecuador “presented countersuits for environmental damage caused by the U.S. company as well as for the poor state of the infrastructure,” the Attorney General’s Office said. The nation wants the court “to declare Burlington responsible and order them to pay the damages in their entirety.”

ConocoPhillips’s press office in Houston didn’t immediately respond to a telephone message seeking comment. Calls to Burlington’s offices in Quito went unanswered.

The arbitration court is expected to make a final ruling on the case in 2013, the Attorney General’s Office said.

--Editors: Jessica Brice, Charles Siler

To contact the reporter on this story: Nathan Gill in Quito at ngill4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net


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