Human rights impacts of oil pollution: Ecuador

Human rights impacts of oil pollution: Ecuador

Texaco operated in Ecuador from 1964 to 1992, working in partnership with the state oil company, Petroecuador.  Decades of oil exploitation in eastern areas of Ecuador produced extensive oil contamination of water and land.  Texaco has been accused of responsibility for damage caused by this pollution, and Chevron (which now owns Texaco) faces legal claims from private plaintiffs (a multi-billion dollar civil class action lawsuit pending in an Ecuadorian court against Chevron brought by 30,000 inhabitants of the northeastern Ecuadorian Amazon).  The plaintiffs’ claim for damages was earlier $27 billion, but in September 2010 was increased to between $90 billion and $113 billion.  Chevron claims that Petroecuador and the government are responsible for the contamination.

Companies referred to in this briefing are Chevron, Texaco (owned by Chevron), and Petroecuador.  We have invited each of these companies to provide responses or any further information it wishes to be added to this briefing.

1. Brief summary & introduction
    - International standards

2. Recent articles comparing Ecuador situation with the Gulf response and coverage

3. Alleged impacts on health, livelihoods, environment

4. Alleged impacts on cultural way of life of indigenous communities

5. Assessing responsibility of Chevron/Texaco versus Petroecuador

6. Lawsuits

7. Chevron position on the lawsuit in Ecuador

8. Further issues

    - Threats & intimidation

    - Allegations of judicial & legal misconduct

    - Ecuador’s preferential trade status with U.S.

    - Joe Berlinger film and Chevron court petition to obtain raw footage

    - Goldman Environmental Prize

    - Allegations of obfuscating facts

    - “Phony” news coverage

    - Lobbyists and celebrities

9. Videos & audio

10. For further information

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre’s role is to impartially provide information reflecting the public debate on issues relating to business & human rights.  The diverse views presented in these materials have been published by commentators, journalists, organizations and companies.  Any company, organization or commentator wishing to submit a clarification, response or further information is welcome to do so; for Ecuador, please contact:

Mauricio Lazala, Head of Latin America, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (, phone: +44 20 7636 7774

This briefing is not comprehensive.  It highlights key materials reflecting a broad range of views, thereby facilitating constructive, informed decision-making and public discussion.  The briefing’s purpose is to keep an ongoing focus on these important issues, and to provide a platform to reflect the continuing public debate.  We will keep this briefing updated over the coming months and years.