Ecuador’s Attorney General said the government expects an arbitration panel to reach a decision this year in a $3.2 billion dispute with Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY:US), the largest onshore crude producer in the continental U.S.
The World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes should rule on the case in three to six months, Diego Garcia, who represents Ecuador’s government in the case, said yesterday in a phone interview from Miami. The South American country is disputing the tribunal’s jurisdiction and hasn’t decided if it will accept the ruling, Garcia said.
Ecuador stripped Occidental, the biggest foreign investor in the country at the time, of its oil concession in 2006 over an alleged contract breach, prompting the company’s complaint to the panel. The government, which denies responsibility for damages to Occidental, has asked that the case be thrown out, Garcia said.
“In the next months, let’s say three or maximum six months, the arbitration award should be issued,” Garcia said. “We consider that there is sufficient basis at the moment for an eventual annulment of the award.”
Occidental spokesman Eric Moses declined to comment yesterday in an e-mail. Occidental fell (OXY:US) 56 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $78.67 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading yesterday.
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