Chevron News - 2011

News summaries from Chevron press releases and from unaffiliated news agencies are provided below. The summaries are sorted by month and are further categorized as upstream news, downstream news, and business/finance news. makes no claim as to the authenticity of the information posted here, but provides it as a courtesy to our visitors. The information provided on this page was obtained from company-provided press releases and the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, and is believed to be reliable, but we do not guarantee its accuracy. Neither the information, nor any opinion expressed, constitutes a solicitation of the purchase or sale of any stock or option or any claim of authenticity. You are encouraged to contact the relevant corporations and news agencies for the most accurate information.


• Upstream news:

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) confirmed discoveries within the Moho-Bilondo license in the Republic of the Congo. The Bilondo Marine 2 and 3 wells are located approximately 40 miles (70 kilometers) offshore of the Republic of the Congo, in 2,600 feet (800 meters) of water in the central part of the Moho-Bilondo license. Bilondo Marine 2 and 3 were drilled to a total depth of around 6,000 feet (1,800 m). The Bilondo Marine 2 (BILDM-2) well found 253 feet (77 m) of gross reservoir, while the Bilondo Marine 3 (BILDM-3) well, which had a different reservoir as objective, found 144 feet (44 m) of gross reservoir. Both wells were successfully tested and flowed oil.

• Downstream news:

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) announced that its Australian subsidiary has signed a Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA) with Kyushu Electric Power Co. for a portion of Chevron's offtake of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Gorgon Project. Under the binding agreement, Kyushu Electric will receive 0.3 million tons per annum (MTPA) of LNG from the Gorgon Project for up to 20 years beginning in 2015.

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) announced that Chevron Lubricants will commence construction of a lubricants manufacturing facility at the company's Pascagoula refinery. The $1.4 billion Pascagoula Base Oil Project (PBOP) is projected to generate approximately 1,000 jobs over the next two years of construction and about 20 permanent positions once the facility is operating. The facility will manufacture 25,000 barrels per day of premium base oil, the main ingredient in the production of top-tier motor oil that helps improve fuel economy, lower tail-pipe emissions and extend the time between oil changes.

• Business/Finance news:

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) reported in its interim update that earnings for the fourth quarter 2010 are expected to be higher than in the third quarter 2010. Upstream results are projected to improve between sequential quarters, benefiting from higher crude oil prices and increased liquids liftings. Downstream earnings in the fourth quarter are also expected to be higher, reflecting a gain on an asset sale.

- In an effort to support broad-based economic development in California, Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) has committed $1 million to Grameen America, an innovative microfinance organization founded by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus. The funds will support the launch of Grameen America's first West Coast branch in the San Francisco Bay Area by funding Grameen America's operational costs.

- The Board of Directors of Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) declared a quarterly dividend of seventy-two cents ($0.72) per share, payable March 10, 2011, to holders of common stock as shown on the transfer records of the Corporation at the close of business on February 16, 2011.

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) announced a series of senior management moves in key corporate and upstream leadership positions. These executive appointments are effective March 1, 2011. James Blackwell has been named executive vice president, Technology and Services. Blackwell, who has been with the company since 1980, is currently president, Chevron Asia Pacific Exploration and Production Company. In addition to overseeing technology, Blackwell, 52, will be responsible for major capital project management, procurement and several other corporate operating and support functions. Rhonda Zygocki has also been named executive vice president, Policy and Planning. Zygocki, 53, is currently vice president, Policy, Government and Public Affairs. In her new role, Zygocki's scope of responsibilities will include strategy and planning, and health, environment and safety, along with continuing oversight of policy, government and public affairs. Blackwell and Zygocki will report to John Watson, chairman and chief executive officer, and serve on the company's Executive Committee.

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) reported earnings of $5.3 billion ($2.64 per share – diluted) for the fourth quarter 2010, compared with $3.1 billion ($1.53 per share – diluted) in the 2009 fourth quarter. Results in the 2010 period included gains of nearly $400 million from downstream asset sales. Foreign currency effects decreased earnings in the 2010 quarter by $99 million, compared with a decrease of $67 million a year earlier.


• Upstream news:

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) announced a further drilling success in the Carnarvon Basin offshore Western Australia, Australia's premier hydrocarbon basin. The Orthrus-2 well is located in the WA-24-R permit area approximately 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of Barrow Island. The well was drilled to a total depth of 14,098 feet (4,297 meters). Combining both appraisal and exploration objectives, the well encountered 243 feet (74 meters) of net gas pay, of which 102 feet (31 meters) of net gas pay was encountered in a deeper, previously unexplored target interval in the Orthrus field

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) announced that its acquisition of Atlas Energy has been completed following approval by Atlas stockholders.

• Downstream news:

• Business/Finance news:

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) filed a civil lawsuit under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) as well as other federal and state laws against the trial lawyers and consultants leading a fraudulent litigation and PR campaign against the company. Through the lawsuit, Chevron seeks a court declaration that any judgment against Chevron in the Ecuador lawsuit is the result of fraud and therefore unenforceable. Chevron is also seeking damages associated with the cost of defending the Ecuador litigation. Chevron's RICO claim addresses pervasive misconduct relating to the named defendants' efforts to extort money from Chevron using the pendency of a lawsuit in Lago Agrio, Ecuador, directed and funded by American trial lawyers and their allies. Chevron's suit alleges that the named defendants, and certain non-party co-conspirators, have used the Ecuador lawsuit to threaten Chevron, mislead U.S. government officials, and harass and intimidate Chevron employees, all in order to extort a financial settlement from the company. Among those named in Chevron's complaint are New York City-based plaintiffs' lawyer Steven Donziger; his Ecuadorian colleagues Pablo Fajardo and Luis Yanza; their front organizations, the Amazon Defense Front and Selva Viva; and Stratus Consulting, a Boulder, Colo.-based consulting firm retained by the plaintiffs' lawyers to secretly prepare a damages report that was then presented as having been written by an allegedly independent, court-appointed expert.

- Chevron Corp.'s racketeering suit filed against the legal team seeking damages for pollution in Ecuador is likely part of a wider strategy aimed at helping the oil giant reach a more favorable settlement, according to legal experts. A judge in Ecuador is close to issuing a decision in the long-running case there, but Chevron has been seeking to undermine the plaintiffs in U.S. courts. The company could face billions of dollars in damages, potentially making the case the biggest environmental verdict of all time. The civil racketeering complaint (pdf), filed in the Southern District of New York, names plaintiffs' attorney Steve Donziger, who has spearheaded the legal fight against Chevron for years, as the lead defendant (E&ENews PM, Feb. 1). Other lawyers involved in the case are also named defendants, along with other non-attorneys associated with the plaintiffs. The complaint makes several allegations under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, known as RICO, a law originally enacted to target organized crime. The government uses the statute to pursue criminal cases, but private parties can also file civil RICO suits against each other if they believe there is evidence of a conspiracy. The Chevron suit alleges that the case against the corporation in Ecuador is a conspiracy to commit extortion. The complaint cites as an example an expert's report submitted to the court in Ecuador that Chevron says was "biased and false." The plaintiffs in Ecuador first filed suit against Chevron in 1993. They now claim $113 billion in damages for alleged pollution caused by Texaco Inc. Chevron took on the litigation when it acquired Texaco's Ecuador operation in 2001. Experts on civil RICO say such suits can serve multiple purposes. Douglas Rees, a Chicago-based partner at the Jenner & Block law firm, described the statute as a "blunt instrument" that can be used to encompass a broad array of activity to create "added leverage for settlement negotiations." Defendants can be hit with treble damages if a case ever goes to trial, which might make them wary of entering into a lengthy court battle unless they have deep pockets. Such cases rarely do go to trial, however, and often "claims are exaggerated" in the complaint, said David Smith, a defense lawyer at Smith & English in Alexandria, Va. Due to the statute's history, it also has the added effect of associating defendants with gangsters, Rees noted. The lawsuit fits squarely within Chevron's strategy of seeking to turn U.S. courts against the plaintiffs. Chevron has already been making use of a legal procedure that has allowed its lawyers to depose members of their opponent's legal team, including Donziger. The Donziger deposition took place after Chevron obtained outtakes from a documentary about the Ecuador case, called "Crude," in which Donziger was heard saying the Ecuadorean court system was corrupt and that the only way to succeed was by "pressuring and intimidating the courts." Although the underlying case is being heard in Ecuador, what happens in U.S. court matters. Chevron no longer has assets in Ecuador, which means if the plaintiffs win they would have to enforce the judgment in other courts, including in the United States. From Chevron's perspective, the RICO action "might provide a basis to resist enforcement of the judgment" in U.S. courts, Smith said. It makes sense, he added, to file a RICO suit as Chevron is likely looking at all its legal options due to the nature of the case. Chevron's vice president and general counsel, R. Hewitt Pate, said in a statement that the company "has no intention of giving these plaintiffs' lawyers the payday they seek." The aim all along has been "to extort a multibillion dollar payment from Chevron through fabricated evidence and a campaign to incite public outrage," he added. The plaintiffs have sought to portray the RICO suit as an attempt to divert attention from the Ecuador case. There remains "overwhelming evidence of guilt in the intentional contamination of one of the most pristine rainforests in the world," plaintiffs' spokeswoman Karen Hinton said.

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) announced there has been an adverse judgment from the Provincial Court of Justice of Sucumbíos in Lago Agrio, Ecuador in an environmental lawsuit involving Texaco Petroleum Company. In response to the ruling, Chevron issued the following statement: "The Ecuadorian court's judgment is illegitimate and unenforceable. It is the product of fraud and is contrary to the legitimate scientific evidence. Chevron will appeal this decision in Ecuador and intends to see that justice prevails. "United States and international tribunals already have taken steps to bar enforcement of the Ecuadorian ruling. Chevron does not believe that today's judgment is enforceable in any court that observes the rule of law. "Chevron intends to see that the perpetrators of this fraud are held accountable for their misconduct."

- A judge in a tiny courtroom in the Ecuadorean Amazon ruled that the oil giant Chevron was responsible for polluting remote tracts of Ecuadorean jungle and ordered the company to pay more than $9 billion in damages, one of the largest environmental awards ever. The decision by Judge Nicolás Zambrano in Lago Agrio, a town founded as an oil camp in the 1960s, immediately opened a contentious new stage of appeals in a legal battle that has dragged on in courts in Ecuador and the United States for 17 years, pitting forest tribes and villagers against one of the largest American corporations. The award against Chevron “is one of the largest judgments ever imposed for environmental contamination in any court,” said David M. Uhlmann, an expert in environmental law at the University of Michigan. “It falls well short of the $20 billion that BP has agreed to pay to compensate victims of the gulf oil spill but is a landmark decision nonetheless. Whether any portion of the claims will be paid by Chevron is less clear.” Both sides said they would appeal the ruling, setting the stage for months and potentially years more of legal wrangling in the closely watched case, which has already been marked by claims of industrial espionage and fraud, and remarkably bitter disputes among the various lawyers involved. Legal experts said that the size of the award and the attention the case has focused on environmental degradation were likely to encourage similar suits. The 188-page ruling found Chevron responsible for damages of about $8.6 billion, and perhaps double that amount if Chevron fails to publicly apologize for its actions within 15 days. The judge also ordered Chevron to pay $860 million, or 10 percent of the damages, to the Amazon Defense Coalition, the group formed to represent the plaintiffs. Pablo Fajardo, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, called the ruling a “triumph of justice,” but said it still fell short. “We’re going to appeal because we think that the damages awarded are not enough,” he said in a telephone interview. The plaintiffs were seeking as much as $113 billion, according to a report recently submitted to the court. A Chevron spokesman, Kent Robertson, called the decision “illegitimate and unenforceable.” He said Chevron would appeal through the Ecuadorean legal system, and would not pay the damages. “This is the product of fraud,” he said. “It had always been the plan to inflate the damages claim and coordinate with corrupt judges for a smaller judgment.” He suggested that the timing of the ruling, a week after Chevron filed a lawsuit against the plaintiffs’ lawyers, was not coincidental. He said it was coordinated between the plaintiffs and the court, which had previously accepted an expert environmental opinion that Chevron contended was partly ghost-written by representatives of the plaintiffs, who include villagers and Indian tribes in northeastern Ecuador. The plaintiffs have denied any collaboration with the judge and said they merely provided information for the expert’s report as the court encouraged both sides to do. Chevron, the second-largest American oil company, reported a net profit of $19 billion last year. In addition to its appeal in Ecuador, the company hopes to block enforcement of the judgment in American courts. The decision was the latest installment in a legal soap opera in which Chevron and lawyers for Ecuadorean peasants have sued and countersued over oil pollution in Ecuador’s rain forest. The origins of the case go back to the 1970s, when Texaco, which was later acquired by Chevron, operated as a partner with the Ecuadorean state oil company. The villagers sued in 1993, claiming that Texaco had left an environmental mess that was causing illnesses. Chevron bought Texaco in 2001, before the case was resolved. Chevron has been playing hardball for at least the last two years. It produced video recordings from watches and pens wired with bugging devices that suggested a bribery scheme surrounded the proceedings and involved a judge hearing the case. The judge was forced to resign, although it was later revealed that an American behind the secret recordings was a convicted drug trafficker. Chevron appeared to gain the upper hand again when it won a legal bid to secure the outtakes from a documentary about the case, “Crude,” in which Steven Donziger, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, is seen developing strategy and discussing the judicial system and how it operates. Mr. Donziger appeared boastful about meetings with judges and other Ecuadorean officials. Chevron filed a suit against dozens of people involved in the case, charging that they conspired to extort the company for $113 billion by making up evidence and trying to manipulate the Ecuadorean legal system. At the company’s request, an American judge issued a temporary restraining order to block any judgment for at least four weeks. A day later, international arbiters ordered Ecuador to suspend the enforcement of any judgment. Almost lost in the various disputes related to the lawsuit is the fact that Chevron and plaintiffs have agreed that oil exploration contaminated what had been largely undeveloped swaths of Ecuadorean rainforest. The plaintiffs claim that Chevron must be held responsible for damage where Texaco once operated. Chevron, however, argues that Texaco carried out a cleanup agreement with the Ecuadorean government and that much of the damage was done after Texaco left in the early 1990s, actions for which it should not be held responsible.

- Armed with a $9 billion ruling against Chevron in Ecuador but little chance of collecting it there, representatives for Ecuadorean villagers said that they were looking at waging legal battles against the company in more than a dozen countries where it operates, hoping to force Chevron to pay. The latest salvo, coming only a day after an Ecuadorean judge ordered Chevron to pay one of the largest environmental awards ever, suggests that the legal battle between villagers and oil executives, which began in 1993, is far from over. The case stems from oil pollution in the Ecuadorean rain forest, but Chevron does not operate there and has no significant assets in the country. It was Texaco, which Chevron acquired in a merger in 2001, that was accused of widespread environmental damage before pulling out of Ecuador in the early 1990s. Chevron has much larger operations elsewhere in Latin America, and the plaintiffs’ strategy of pursuing the company across the region could open a contentious new phase in the case — one that would test Ecuador’s political ties with its neighbors and involve some of Washington’s most prominent lobbyists and lawyers. Advisers to the plaintiffs said Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela would be obvious candidates to pursue Chevron assets, but they acknowledged it would not be easy. Venezuela, for instance, is a close Ecuadorean ally and its president, Hugo Chávez, is a frequent critic of the United States. But Chevron has extensive operations in Venezuela and enjoys warmer ties with Mr. Chávez’s government than just about any other American company. The plaintiffs also face an uphill struggle collecting damages in the United States, at least immediately, given that a judge in New York this month temporarily prevented enforcement of the Ecuador awards. Still, legal advisers said they were prepared to try to collect damages in the United States as well. A confidential memo prepared by the Washington law firm Patton Boggs recently released under court order laid out the plaintiffs’ strategy, which foresees using a European industrial espionage firm to investigate Chevron’s assets world. In the memo, lawyers also identified the Philippines, Singapore, Australia, Angola, Canada and several other countries where Chevron has significant assets as potential targets. In the Philippines, it even suggested using the services of Frank G. Wisner, the retired diplomat and a foreign affairs adviser for Patton Boggs, who recently waded into the crisis in Egypt as an envoy for the Obama administration. Citing the Invictus memo, Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York argued that the plaintiffs were seeking to use a “worldwide, full-court press” to extract a settlement against a company of considerable importance in providing energy supplies to the United States economy. Chevron said it did not intend to pay a dime. “We intend to resist enforcement anywhere where the plaintiffs seek to take what we perceive to be a fraudulent judgment,” said Kent Robertson, a Chevron spokesman. Beyond the temporary protection issued by Judge Kaplan, Mr. Robertson noted a decision by a panel of international arbitrators in The Hague that granted the company a preliminary injunction that might also block enforcement of the judgment. But Ecuadorean lawyers said they did not consider themselves under the jurisdiction of either the American court or the arbitrators. Duncan Hollis, associate dean of the Temple University law school, said it was logical for the plaintiffs to take their battle to other countries in the region because “there is some commonality in Latin American legal systems.” But, Mr. Hollis added, “there is no international law about how one court is supposed to enforce the judgments from another nation’s court.” For now, the case moves forward in the Ecuadorean courts. Three judges will hear appeals from both sides. The Amazon coalition intends to appeal the amount of the damages, while Chevron will appeal the entire ruling. The final appeal will go to a national appeals court, a process that could take months. Then the fight may move to several countries simultaneously. Advisers to the villagers and forest tribes said they hoped to extract Chevron money from many countries until they reach the final judgment total. The ruling’s impact is already being felt in Ecuador and beyond as a cautionary tale of the environmental and legal aftermath of oil exploration. Alberto Acosta, a former oil minister in Ecuador, called the ruling “a historical precedent.” It is “a reminder that we have to defend ourselves from the irresponsible activity of extraction companies, both oil and mining,” Mr. Acosta said.

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Niger Delta Partnership Initiative (NDPI) Foundation, established by Chevron to help address socio economic challenges in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Under the MoU, the NDPI Foundation and USAID will each contribute $25 million over four years to support a portfolio of programs designed to promote economic development, improve the capacity of government and civil society institutions, and help reduce conflict in the region.


• Upstream news:

• Downstream news:

- Chevron has reached an agreement with Valero Energy Corporation to sell Chevron Limited, the entity that holds the 220,000 barrel per day Pembroke Refinery and other downstream assets in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The sale price is $730 million, plus an additional payment estimated to be $1 billion for Chevron Limited's inventory and other items. The agreement is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed during the second half of 2011.

• Business/Finance news:

- Richmond High School opened a $60,000 computer lab to help prepare students for careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. A product of efforts between the City of Richmond and Chevron, the lab is one example of how public-private relationships are helping to prepare California's youth for the 21st century economy. Students using the computer lab will be taught with a curriculum from Project Lead the Way, a national educational nonprofit offering STEM curriculum to middle and high school students. Chevron provided funding for Project Lead the Way curriculum and materials. The opening comes weeks after President Obama pledged to increase STEM education funding in the U.S. The computer lab is expected to benefit more than 66 students enrolled in the engineering academy, which features Project Lead the Way curriculum, at Richmond High School in 2011.

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) has appealed the judgment entered last month against the company by the Provincial Court of Justice of Sucumbíos in Lago Agrio, Ecuador in a lawsuit alleging that Texaco Petroleum Company’s participation in a state-controlled oil consortium prior to 1990 makes Chevron responsible for environmental impacts in the area. In the filing, Chevron details the pattern of fraud by the plaintiffs’ lawyers, supporters and others that has corrupted the trial, as well as the numerous legal and factual defects in the judgment. In addition to its appeal in Ecuador, Chevron continues to seek recourse through legal proceedings outside of Ecuador. In an arbitration Chevron initiated in 2009 under the U.S.-Ecuador Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), a Tribunal in The Hague issued an order on Feb. 9 requiring Ecuador to take all measures at its disposal to prevent enforcement of the Lago Agrio judgment until further order of the Tribunal, including the Tribunal’s final award on the merits. On Mar. 7, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a preliminary injunction against the Lago Agrio plaintiffs, their lawyers, and those in concert with them, barring them from attempting to enforce the Lago Agrio judgment pending resolution by the U.S. court of Chevron’s claims that the Lago Agrio judgment is unenforceable. Through discovery proceedings in the United States, Chevron obtained thousands of documents that memorialize the plaintiffs’ lawyers’ efforts to pressure judges to rule in their favor, corrupt expert reports, and manufacture evidence.

- Chevron Corp. scored a major legal victory when a federal judge ruled that plaintiffs who won an $8.6 billion judgment for pollution in Ecuador cannot seek to collect damages in the United States or in other countries. U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York issued a 131-page opinion explaining in detail his reasoning for granting a preliminary injunction. Kaplan raised serious concerns about the legitimacy of the judgment against Chevron issued by a judge in Lago Agrio, Ecuador, last month for environmental damage caused by Texaco Petroleum Corp. before it was acquired by Chevron in 2001. The injunction was a response to racketeering claims made by Chevron, which claims the entire case against it is an extortion scheme. Kaplan's ruling, in theory, prevents the plaintiffs from enforcing the Lago Agrio ruling anywhere outside Ecuador. It's a vital point because Chevron has no assets in Ecuador, so the plaintiffs were expected to look to the United States and other countries where Chevron operates. The opinion (pdf) states that Kaplan's ruling is binding on various parties involved with the plaintiffs, including Steven Donziger, the American lawyer who has led the fight against Chevron since 1993. Donziger, the plaintiffs and other lawyers are now barred from "any action or proceeding, outside the Republic of Ecuador, for recognition or enforcement of the judgment previously rendered," Kaplan wrote. The move was not unexpected, as Kaplan had already granted a temporary restraining order that had the same effect as the injunction while he considered Chevron's request. But the plaintiffs, who plan to appeal, say it's not clear whether Kaplan's ruling would prevent them from seeking to enforce the ruling in courts outside the United States. The Ecuadorean plaintiffs and their lawyers in Ecuador maintain that "they are not under the jurisdiction of Judge Kaplan, and he does not have authority to enjoin them from seeking enforcement outside of the United States with non-U.S. attorneys," said spokeswoman Karen Hinton. After the case goes through the appeals process in Ecuador, the plaintiffs still hope to "lawfully enforce the judgment of their own country's courts in any of the dozens of nations around the world where Chevron has assets," she added. Chevron spokesman Kent Robertson welcomed the ruling. The plaintiffs should not be able to profit from a ruling "that does not provide due process and from a judgment that they have procured through fraud and corruption," he said. Among Kaplan's key considerations was whether the ruling in Ecuador deserves to be recognized by overseas courts. Chevron has demonstrated that the legal system in Ecuador and the way in which the judgment was reached were questionable, Kaplan wrote. The legal system in Ecuador has been corrupt for years, but "the situation has worsened" since leftist President Rafael Correa took office in 2007, Kaplan added. Correa "continues to threaten and pressure judges at all levels, particularly those hearing suits that implicate government interests," he wrote. Kaplan also noted evidence that the plaintiffs sought to use "pressure tactics" to influence the judge in Ecuador and helped prepare an independent expert's report that was introduced as evidence in the case. In a separate order, Kaplan also rejected a request from Donziger that the case be transferred to a different judge, in part due to an assertion that Chevron inappropriately sought to have the case assigned to Kaplan in the belief that he is sympathetic to the company's position. The request was meritless, Kaplan said.

- The Ecuadorean ambassador to Washington has launched a defense of his country's judicial system following a U.S. federal judge's decision that would prevent indigenous plaintiffs from enforcing an $8.6 billion judgment against oil giant Chevron Corp. In the ruling, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York was highly critical of the Ecuadorean court system and raised questions about interference from leftist President Rafael Correa's government. The long-running case focuses on alleged oil pollution in the Lago Agrio area of Ecuador caused by Texaco Petroleum Corp., which was acquired by Chevron in 2001. In a statement released last night, Ambassador Luis Gallegos took issue with Kaplan's conclusions and expressed "consternation that a U.S. court has elected to pass judgment on Ecuador's courts." Kaplan granted Chevron a preliminary injunction that, in theory, prevents the Ecuadorean plaintiffs from seeking to enforce the ruling outside of Ecuador. Chevron has no assets in Ecuador, so the plaintiffs, who question whether Kaplan's ruling binds anyone other than their U.S.-based lawyers, are reliant on overseas courts if they want to collect any damages. Chevron persuaded Kaplan that the legal system in Ecuador and the way in which the judgment was reached were questionable. "There is abundant evidence before the court that Ecuador has not provided impartial tribunals or procedures compatible with due process of law," Kaplan wrote. The Ecuadorean government "continues to threaten and pressure judges at all levels, particularly those hearing suits that implicate government interests," he added. Although the legal system in Ecuador has been corrupt for years, "the situation has worsened" since Correa took office in 2007, Kaplan said. In his statement, Gallegos pointed out that the case was heard in Ecuador only because Texaco had requested it be moved there from the Southern District of New York. Kaplan's lengthy opinion "does not accurately reflect upon or credit the independence of the Ecuadorian judiciary," Gallegos said. The statement, which stressed that the Ecuadorean government was not commenting on the merits of the Lago Agrio case, included examples of what the embassy called the judiciary's "history of independent judgments." Several of the cases mentioned featured Chevron or Texaco as a party. One was a win for Texaco in 2000 in an income tax case. Another was a 2002 case in which Chevron won motions to dismiss against the Ecuadorean government in what the statement described as three "civil cases." Chevron also won $1.5 million in a case against the government, the statement said. Chevron spokesman Kent Robertson said the cases could not be compared with the Lago Agrio litigation because none of them involved hot-button political issues. In its court filings in New York, Chevron relied in part on an expert report written by Vladimiro Alvarez Grau, a lawyer, politician and newspaper columnist in Ecuador. Kaplan made numerous references to that report in his opinion, describing Alvarez as "impressively credentialed." Alvarez, who is known in Ecuador as a vocal critic of Correa, wrote that since 2004, "the government has continually violated the rule of law" and that, since Correa took office, "the country is experiencing a severe institutional crisis." His report contains various references to statements made by Ecuadorean legal commentators, including former members of the country's Supreme Court, that are critical of government interference. When a new Ecuadorean constitution went into effect in 2008, the Supreme Court was renamed the National Court of Justice and, for the first time, its rulings made subject to review by a "constitutional court" that the government exerts control over, Alvarez added. Chevron also points to the fact that a World Bank ranking of countries based on rule of law puts Ecuador in the lowest 10 percentile. The Lago Agrio plaintiffs responded to Alvarez's report with a declaration from Ecuadorean attorney Juan Pablo Saenz, who claimed that the reason Texaco, before being acquired by Chevron, wanted to move the case to Ecuador was because it believed the judiciary "was too weak to handle these claims" at that time. Karen Hinton, a spokeswoman for the plaintiffs, said Kaplan's "derogatory and dismissive comments" were made "with only Chevron's word as evidence." The embassy's statement conceded that there have been "aggressive" judicial reforms in Ecuador but said the changes were overwhelmingly positive. Developments include improving access to justice for "marginalized sectors of society, including women and indigenous communities," the statement said. The budget for the judiciary has also been increased and, along with other reforms, "the judiciary is more independent and better qualified than it had been" at the time Chevron wanted to move the case to Ecuador, the statement concluded. The plaintiffs plan to appeal Kaplan's ruling. In the meantime, the Lago Agrio case is also on appeal in Ecuador

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) is generating record operating cash flow and advancing its strong project queue, executives said at the company's annual meeting with financial analysts in New York. "Operationally and financially, 2010 was an outstanding year. We continue to deliver on our commitments," said John Watson, Chevron's chairman and CEO. "We improved our safety performance in 2010, once again closing the year with a world-class standing. We also exceeded our oil and gas production target and made excellent progress on our downstream restructuring." Watson went on to add, "Over the next few years, our full attention will be on completing our major natural gas development projects in Australia, which will deliver Chevron's next wave of significant growth

- Chevron Africa Latin America Exploration and Production Company has signed a Cooperation Protocol with the Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatrics AIDS Initiative (BIPAI) at Texas Children's Hospital and the Republic of Angola today in Luanda, Angola to establish the West African nation's first comprehensive Sickle Cell Disease program. Chevron is supporting the Angola Sickle Cell Initiative with $4 million over 4 years. BIPAI, a joint program of Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital located in the world-renowned Texas Medical Center in Houston, will provide the leadership, training and organization

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) announced that Paul V. Bennett has been named vice president and treasurer, effective May 1, 2011. Bennett earned his bachelor's degree in history at Wesleyan University in 1975 and his master's degree in finance at the University of California, Berkeley, 1980. He replaces Pierre R. Breber, who has been appointed deputy managing director of Chevron's Asia South Business Unit in the company's international exploration and production business, which oversees Thailand, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Myanmar


• Upstream news:

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) announced the signing of agreements with Shell Development (Australia) Pty Ltd to bring Shell into the Chevron-operated Wheatstone Project as a natural gas supplier and equity participant. George Kirkland, vice chairman, Chevron Corporation, said, "Chevron is pleased to welcome another participant into the Wheatstone Project. The Wheatstone hub will provide a reliable new source of energy to Australia and the region. It will also further enhance Chevron's position as a leading supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Asia-Pacific." Under the unitization agreement with Chevron's Australian subsidiaries, Shell will assume an 8 percent participating interest in the Wheatstone and Iago natural gas fields in the Chevron-operated permits WA-253-P, WA-17-R and WA-16-R, located offshore northwest Australia. The Wheatstone and Iago gas fields will supply Trains 1 and 2 of the Wheatstone Project, located onshore at Ashburton North in Western Australia. Shell will also assume a 6.4 percent participating interest in the project facilities, with Chevron remaining project operator.

- Chevron Upstream Europe, a strategic business unit of Chevron's Europe, Eurasia and Middle East (EEME) Operating Company announced that it has successfully bid for the exploration rights in four blocks awarded in the Norwegian 21st Licensing Round. The blocks are located in the Outer Vøring Basin in the Norwegian Sea, approximately 335 miles (540 kilometres) west of the coast of Bodø, in 6824 feet (2080 metres) of water. Chevron Norge AS has been appointed as the operator with a 40 percent equity in Production Licence PL598 comprising the blocks 6601/6 and 9 and 6602/4 and 7. The other participants in the blocks are ExxonMobil Exploration & Production Norway AS with 30 percent equity interest, Idemitsu Petroleum Norge AS with 10 percent equity interest and Petoro AS with 20 percent equity interest.

• Downstream news:

- Chevron Mining Inc. (CMI), a subsidiary of Chevron Corp (NYSE:CVX) and sister company Chevron Technology Ventures (CTV), a division of Chevron U.S.A., announced the start of one of the country's largest concentrating photovoltaic solar facilities. The installation, located on the tailing site of CMI's molybdenum mine in Questa, New Mexico, will demonstrate and evaluate an emerging solar technology and a practical use of previously impacted land.

• Business/Finance news:

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) reported in its interim update that earnings for the first quarter 2011 are expected to be higher than in the fourth quarter 2010. Upstream results are projected to improve between sequential quarters, benefiting from higher crude oil prices, offset in part by lower liftings. Downstream earnings in the first quarter are expected to be slightly lower, reflecting reduced asset sales gains, largely offset by higher U.S. margins.

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) has filed an amended complaint in its lawsuit in federal court in New York seeking to block enforcement and recognition of a judgment entered against the company in Lago Agrio, Ecuador. The amended complaint cites newly discovered evidence that the Lago Agrio plaintiffs' lawyers and consultants, at a minimum, provided clandestine assistance to the Ecuadorian court in drafting the judgment against Chevron. Through its U.S. discovery efforts, Chevron has obtained previously private files belonging to the Lago Agrio plaintiffs' lawyers and their co-conspirators. These files contain numerous and unique errors, large and small, and the same errors and irregularities now appear in the Ecuadorian court's judgment despite never having been entered into the trial record.

- The Board of Directors of Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) declared a quarterly dividend of seventy-eight cents ($0.78) per share, payable June 10, 2011, to holders of common stock as shown on the transfer records of the Corporation at the close of business on May 19, 2011. The amount represents an 8.3 percent increase in the company's quarterly dividend.

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) reported earnings of $6.2 billion ($3.09 per share – diluted) for the first quarter 2011, compared with $4.6 billion ($2.27 per share – diluted) in the 2010 first quarter.


• Upstream news:

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) has announced that it has agreed to acquire oil and gas assets, primarily 228,000 net leasehold acres, in the Marcellus Shale from Chief Oil & Gas LLC and Tug Hill, Inc. Terms of the transaction, which is expected to close before the end of the second quarter, were not disclosed. The acreage, which is principally located in southern Pennsylvania, will give Chevron an estimated five trillion cubic feet of additional natural gas resource in its Marcellus Shale operations.

• Downstream news:

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) announced that its Australian subsidiary has signed a Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA) with JX Nippon Oil and Energy Corporation for a portion of Chevron's offtake of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Gorgon Project. Under the binding agreement, JX Nippon Oil and Energy will receive 0.3 million tons per annum (MTPA) of LNG from the Gorgon Project for 15 years.

• Business/Finance news:

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) achieved its safest year in company history, reduced its total energy consumption by 33 percent compared with 1992 levels, invested $197 million in communities around the world, and spent more than $2 billion with small U.S. businesses, according to the company's 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report issued todayChevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) achieved its safest year in company history, reduced its total energy consumption by 33 percent compared with 1992 levels, invested $197 million in communities around the world, and spent more than $2 billion with small U.S. businesses, according to the company's 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report.

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) highlighted the company's 2010 performance and discussed the company's future growth at the 2011 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. Watson discussed Chevron's strong 2010 financial and operational performance, which produced earnings of $19 billion. The company increased the quarterly dividend by 5.9 percent in 2010, marking 23 consecutive years of annual dividend increases. During this period, dividends grew at an average annual rate of 7 percent. Chevron announced another quarterly dividend increase in April 2011. Watson said that Chevron led its peers in total stockholder return over the past five years, besting the S&P 500 by more than 14 percentage points. The company maintained its leading position in total stockholder return through the first quarter of 2011. Watson reinforced Chevron's long-standing commitment to safe, reliable operations. Chevron is an industry leader in safety and in 2010 achieved the best safety performance in the company's history. He also discussed the partnerships Chevron has formed to address health, education and economic development issues in the communities where the company operates.

- It's easy to get cheesed about high gas prices when oil companies are raking in billions of dollars in profit. Chevron, for one, wants you to know that it's thinking the same. "Oil companies should put their profits to good use," the company declares in recent newspaper ads. And in response to that laudable sentiment, Chevron's chief financial officer, Patricia Yarrington, says, "We agree." The ads go on to say that "California's economy needs energy to grow. And we're providing it. Reinvesting over $7 billion into the state over the past 5 years. Bringing new energy to market, helping support thousands of jobs, and boosting small businesses. We're making every penny count." Considering that Chevron has reported $6.2 billion in profit for the first three months of the year, up 36% from a year earlier — and $19 billion for last year, nearly double its 2009 earnings — that's a bold statement. Equally bold was the testimony of oil industry leaders in Congress. They were making the case for why some $4 billion in annual federal subsidies and tax incentives should remain in place despite the companies' bulging pockets. OK, then perhaps Chevron can tell us how exactly it's reinvested $7 billion into California. Was it in building new facilities and creating new jobs? Was it in developing alternative energy sources? Investing in solar companies? Or was it something as mundane as simply paying its taxes? I'll get to what Chevron had to say — and why the company isn't fooling anyone. But first, let's take a closer look at this ad campaign the company's running. The "We Agree" newspaper ads and radio and TV commercials debuted in October. According to the company, they highlight "the common ground Chevron shares with people around the world on key energy issues." The campaign was launched just few months after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and four months before Chevron was hit with a $9.5-billion judgment in a long-running lawsuit alleging that the company was responsible for poisoning the Ecuadorian rainforest. The oil giant is appealing the judgment. Chevron's ad campaign was spoofed in a video by the website Funny or Die: Actors portraying company execs happily sign on to the "We Agree" concept after realizing they can claim credit for being socially aware while committing to nothing. So in California's case, what has Chevron actually done to put its profits to good use? When I spoke this week with Brent Tippen, a Chevron spokesman, he asked how detailed a response I wanted. Very detailed, I told him. Let the people of California know exactly where that $7 billion went. The next day, Tippen said by email that the $7 billion cited in the "We Agree" ads "represents our combined capital investments in our business between 2005 and 2009." "The majority of those investments went to maintaining and expanding our major business assets in California, including oil and natural gas production in the San Joaquin Valley, as well as our manufacturing centers in El Segundo and Richmond," he said. "It also includes smaller capital investments in our technology and service businesses in California. These capital investments help sustain our business in California, which produces jobs, tax revenues and economic output." Hmm. Not so detailed after all. Tippen declined to elaborate, saying that "specific capital expenditures are proprietary information." I went online to see if I could find any additional info about Chevron pumping billions of dollars into its California oil and gas facilities. All I found were plans for a major expansion of the company's refinery in Richmond, across the bay from San Francisco. But that project came to a halt in 2009 when the California 1st District Court of Appeal ruled that Chevron had botched its environmental impact report. The project remains in limbo. Tippen sent me a Chevron-funded report by the Milken Institute showing that the oil company employed almost 10,000 California workers in 2007 (before the recession hit; there have since been layoffs). Those workers, the report said, earned about $1.2 billion and accounted for about $4.5 billion in productivity. The report also said that when you factor in state income taxes paid by Chevron workers, plus corporate, property and sales taxes, Chevron accounted for just under $2 billion in total taxes paid in 2007. Moreover, it said, smaller businesses get a boost from all the money spent not just by Chevron workers but also by workers at stores and restaurants patronized by Chevron workers. In other words, if a Chevron employee leaves a tip at a restaurant, and the restaurant server then spends that tip elsewhere, that's an example of Chevron reinvesting in California. Is that what the company seemed to be implying with its "We Agree" ads when it talked about oil companies putting their profits to good use? No. The clear implication of the ads is that Chevron believes it has a responsibility to spend its massive profits on good works. Examples of this might include hefty investments in green energy and technology, contributions to schools, social programs and other community resources, even support for the arts. Maintaining and possibly expanding existing facilities, giving your workers a steady paycheck and paying your taxes — these don't seem to be examples of a company that's going above and beyond the call of corporate duty. I don't knock Chevron for wanting to burnish its image at a time when oil companies are seen as bloated ticks on the American hide. But if you're going to spend millions of dollars on an ad campaign centered on being a sensitive and socially conscious member of society, you'd better have the goods to back it up. Can we agree on that much?

- Gathered in front of the presidential palace in the Spanish colonial quarter of the Ecuadorean capital, the crowd held aloft green and yellow signs that screamed one word: "Sí." Possibly with a nudge from the leftist government of President Rafael Correa, the demonstrators were showing their support for a referendum held here earlier this month. Among the 10 issues up for a vote were reforms of Ecuador's much-criticized judicial system, which has faced the international spotlight due to Chevron Corp.'s efforts to fight a judgment that could cost the oil giant up to $18 billion. Chevron has launched a broadside assault on the Ecuadorean judiciary in an effort to persuade courts outside the country not to enforce the ruling, in which a judge found the company responsible for environmental pollution in the oil fields around the town of Lago Agrio. Texaco Petroleum Corp., which Chevron acquired in 2001, was the major player in the area from the 1960s until it pulled out in 1992. In attacking the integrity of the judicial system, Chevron has found what appears to be a soft target. Even Ecuadoreans, most of whom are at least vaguely familiar with the Lago Agrio case, tend to agree the system can be corrupt and easily swayed by political agendas. This fall, the Ecuadorean justice system is scheduled to go on trial before a federal judge in New York. U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan has agreed to determine whether the Ecuador court's judgment against Chevron should be recognized in U.S. courts and possibly elsewhere. It is all part of a federal racketeering lawsuit Chevron filed against the plaintiffs, in which it alleged that the entire case in Ecuador was a shakedown. What Kaplan and other overseas judges think is vital as Chevron has no assets in Ecuador. Therefore, the plaintiffs' lawyers -- representing indigenous people who live in and around Lago Agrio -- have no option but to look elsewhere for the oil company's cash. There is a sense of unease within the legal community here that a U.S. judge will be casting judgment on their country. Some legal experts say Chevron has no right to criticize the Ecuadorean courts because it was Chevron that asked the case to be transferred here in the first place. The original complaint was filed in the Southern District of New York, the same court where Kaplan sits, in 1993. Texaco argued that a U.S. court was not the proper venue for deciding the case and that Ecuador would be the appropriate forum. That was then. Julio Cesar Trujillo, a constitutional law professor and former left-leaning congressman, said Kaplan's intervention "represents a serious damage to justice around the world." Courts regularly enforce rulings handed down by overseas judges, he added. Indeed, Trujillo says he has successfully sought enforcement of U.S. court rulings in Ecuador. Kaplan could set a bad precedent because "a judge here could decide not to execute a judgment from the U.S. for whatever reason," he added. "If a U.S. judge has the capability of judging our institutions, then why can't we do the same?" Most experts nevertheless agree that there are problems with the judicial system in Ecuador. Long before Correa came into power in 2007 the executive branch had been known to meddle in the judiciary, but it has only become more common. The judiciary "has been in a state of severe institutional crisis for some time," Kaplan wrote in his March opinion in which he ordered the preliminary injunction. "Matters have deteriorated recently." Kaplan based his conclusion on expert witnesses put forward by Chevron, but few lawyers in Ecuador would disagree with him. Concerns about how long it takes to resolve cases and perennial angst about the independence and integrity of the courts have not been helped by constant changes to the way judges are appointed and other reforms to the system, experts say. Between 1998 and 2008, the constitution required that judges on the Supreme Court -- then the nation's top court -- serve life terms and the court would itself appoint replacements. In 2004 and 2005, the Ecuadorean Congress replaced 27 of the 31 Supreme Court justices with new justices picked by lawmakers, at the urging of then-President Lucio Gutierrez, who was elected as a leftist but quickly lost the backing of his supporters for supporting free-market economic policies. Under even more pressure, Gutierrez removed all the Supreme Court justices before he was ousted from office in 2005. Upon taking power, Correa ordered the creation of a new Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution. The Supreme Court was renamed the National Court of Justice and, for the first time, its rulings could be subject to review by a "constitutional court" that the government exerts control over. Not content with those reforms, the two referendum questions relating to the judiciary put before voters May 7 would set up a temporary council of three to restructure the justice system over the next 18 months and then replace the judicial council that oversees the judiciary with a new five-member group. Critics say the government is likely to have a major say in who is appointed. Corral, who says he has seen corruption in the justice system firsthand, doesn't think the reforms will improve matters. Despite Chevron's role as the foreign multinational seeking to evade the jurisdiction of local courts, some influential figures in Ecuadorean society are generally supportive of some of the company's pronouncements. One is Rene Ortiz, who, admittedly, as a former secretary-general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is an oil industry insider. From his perspective, it's not so much the institution of the judiciary that should raise questions about whether the Lago Agrio ruling should be enforced but rather the actions of Correa's government. Correa "should trust the institutional framework" that is already in place, but instead he "practically intervened" in the Chevron case by indicating his support for the plaintiffs' plight, Ortiz said. "He is a crook, in my opinion," he added. In response to these accusations, the plaintiffs have sought to distance themselves from the president, who has visited some of the affected sites that have been litigated over. The Ecuadorean government now finds itself forced into a position where it has to defend the judiciary against Chevron's attacks even while Correa himself has been calling for further reforms. It's a task left to Diego Garcia, Ecuador's attorney general. In an interview in his Quito office, closely watched by advisers, Garcia carefully defended Ecuador from Chevron's attacks while admitting that improvements could be made. "What we cannot accept is that the Ecuadorean justice system is not the right forum to guarantee litigants the handling of their cases or that it is a justice system that only favors the Ecuadorean state," he said. He also claimed Chevron has not made any formal complaints of illegal acts relating to the Lago Agrio case. Chevron disputes that statement. Spokesman Jim Craig said the company has made numerous complaints to various government officials, including the prosecutor general. To suggest otherwise, he added, "ignores the facts and the law and amounts to nothing more than excuse-making on the part of a government that has worked hand-in-glove with the plaintiffs to railroad Chevron in the hope of obtaining a multibillion-dollar windfall." The Lago Agrio plaintiffs, of course, are scornful of Chevron's attempts to undermine the judgment. Judge Kaplan, he added, is "a victim of Chevron's lies." After a lengthy vote-counting process, Correa won on all 10 questions put to the Ecuadorean people in the referendum. The tinkering with the judicial appointment process is further evidence to some of an attempt by the president to increase control over the judiciary. Ortiz described it as "clear intervention in the judicial system." Corral believes the government should stop introducing reforms and instead focus on investing more money in the judiciary, which he says is chronically understaffed and unfunded. It is a fact recognized by those sympathetic to the plaintiffs, such as Trujillo, who revealed that he initially advised them to sue in the United States. Back at the sun-drenched rally in Quito, Gustavo Cachimuel -- who used to work for Petroecuador, the state-owned oil company -- said he isn't so sure Correa's reforms to the judiciary will work, either. But he does believe something needs to be done.


• Upstream news:

• Downstream news:

- A storage tank exploded at a British oil refinery owned by Chevron, killing four workers and seriously injuring another, officials said. The explosion at the Pembroke refinery in southwest Wales occurred while maintenance work was being carried out, the Dyfed Powys police said in a statement. It is still unclear what caused the blast. Chevron, based in California, agreed in March to sell Pembroke, which specializes in processing heavy, lower-quality crudes, to the Texas-based oil company Valero Energy. The sale was set to be completed later this year. Paul Bray, a Chevron spokesman, said that the refinery was operational and that most employees were at work. He also said that the tank in question was not full at the time of the explosion. Police said that there was no health or safety risk for the public as a result of the explosion. The resulting fire was extinguished and an investigation is now underway, police said. Eyewitnesses reported hearing a “massive bang” and saw plumes of black smoke following the blast, the BBC reported on its Web site. Fuels from the Pembroke refinery are distributed in Britain and the United States. The refinery turns out 3.5 million gallons, or more than 13 million liters, of gasoline a day, according to the Chevron Web site. Like many of its rivals, Chevron has been selling crude oil processing and retail operations to focus on the more lucrative areas of exploration and production.

• Business/Finance news:

- An Ecuadorean court's decision to dismiss criminal charges in a case concerning oil pollution liability could affect high-stakes litigation in New York over whether Chevron Corp. should have to pay up to $18 billion in damages. The criminal case in Ecuador focused on whether fraud tainted an agreement between the government and Texaco Petroleum Corp. over oil remediation and the oil company's future liability. Chevron acquired Texaco in 2001 and has since been battling in court against indigenous plaintiffs who say the company should pay damages for pollution in the region around the town of Lago Agrio, where the oil fields are located. In February, a judge in Lago Agrio ordered that Chevron pay up to $18 billion in damages. Chevron has countered not just by appealing the judgment but also by filing a racketeering suit against the plaintiffs in New York, claiming the entire case is a fraud. The criminal case in Ecuador has been mentioned in the racketeering proceeding as possible evidence of collusion between the plaintiffs and the Ecuadorean government, led by leftist President Rafael Correa. Chevron has also claimed that Correa wields undue influence over the judiciary in Ecuador, a view that the judge presiding over the racketeering case, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York, appears to sympathize with. But this week, a court in Quito -- the Ecuadorean capital -- dismissed the criminal charges, a development that the plaintiffs were quick to say appears to contradict Chevron's position. The case involved two former Texaco lawyers, Rodrigo Perez Pallares and Ricardo Reis Veiga, plus former Ecuadorean government officials and employees of the state-controlled oil company, Petroecuador. Veiga now works for Chevron, while Pallares is outside counsel for the company. The allegations were that the defendants falsified documents concerning the 1995 agreement between Texaco and Ecuador, in which the government agreed to release the company from environmental claims in return for the remediation of some sites. The 1995 agreement is a legal obstacle for the plaintiffs, although their lawyers claim it does not address third-party claims. When the plaintiffs filed suit in Ecuador in 2003, three years after their initial complaint in New York was dismissed, the campaign to start a criminal investigation also began. Ecuador's prosecutor general launched an investigation but in 2006 it was brought to a close due to insufficient evidence. Under pressure from the newly elected Correa, the investigation was reopened in 2008, in part due to evidence gleaned from a report submitted in the Lago Agrio litigation by expert Richard Cabrera, which was later revealed to have been influenced by the plaintiffs. Kaplan discussed the criminal case in detail in a 131-page opinion issued in March, in which he explained why he was imposing a preliminary injunction that would prevent plaintiffs from enforcing the Lago Agrio judgment in the United States. The criminal charges were, he said, "an attempt to defeat the settlement" between Texaco and the Ecuadorean government. For Kaplan, the criminal case appears to have been a contributing factor in leading him to question the integrity of the justice system in Ecuador, an issue that has become key to the question of whether the plaintiffs will ever be able to collect any of the damages in courts around the world (Greenwire, May 23). A Chevron spokesman said the company was not ready to respond to the Ecuador court's decision. In a related development, the plaintiffs have filed various legal papers with the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals appealing Kaplan's injunction and seeking his removal from the case due to what Hinton called "his evident bias."

- The final battle in Chevron's high-profile war against an $18 billion judgment over oil pollution in Ecuador is likely to be fought behind closed doors in an ornate building in the Netherlands. The Peace Palace -- a neo-Renaissance structure built in The Hague with the financial backing of industrialist Andrew Carnegie almost a century ago -- is home to the Permanent Court of Arbitration, whose specialty is resolving international legal disputes. Although litigation continues both in Ecuador and New York over the February ruling against Chevron, experts say the arbitration court, which shares its grand home with the International Court of Justice, could have a crucial role to play. That is because the court is currently considering a 2009 claim brought by Chevron against Ecuador in which the oil company claims the Andean nation violated a bilateral trade agreement between it and the United States. The arbitration proceeding is one part of a tangled web of litigation that illustrates the oil company's no-holds-barred approach to the Ecuador case, which has been ongoing in various forms for 18 years. Despite concerns raised by shareholders at last week's annual meeting at Chevron's San Ramon, Calif., headquarters about the judgment and the scant prospect of a settlement any time soon, the company has stressed its continued commitment to fighting to the bitter end. In Ecuador, Chevron has appealed the $18 billion ruling entered by Judge Nicholas Zambrano, while in New York it is pursuing a federal racketeering case against the American lawyers who represent the indigenous plaintiffs, alleging the entire case is a scam.

- The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) and Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) announced a groundbreaking project designed to create a new model for international economic and community development in Washington. Titled, "The Project on U.S. Leadership in Development," the multi-year initiative aims to generate innovative thinking on best ways to integrate U.S. public and private sector resources and interests with non-government organizations (NGOs) and foreign governments to create sustainable partnerships. A core goal of the initiative is to develop and present actionable, bipartisan policy recommendations by 2012 for implementation by current and future Administrations.


• Upstream news:

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) announced the formation of an alliance to develop a range of technologies to improve the production and recovery of oil and natural gas resources. The alliance's initial focus is to develop a wide range of technologies—including power transmission, signal processing and electrical actuation—for application in deepwater.

• Downstream news:

- Chevron Neftegaz, Inc. an affiliate of Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) announced at a groundbreaking ceremony in Atyrau, Kazakhstan, that the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) has marked the start of the construction phase of the $5.4 billion expansion of the Caspian pipeline. The capacity of the 900-mile (1,500-km) pipeline, which carries crude oil from western Kazakhstan to a dedicated terminal in the Black Sea, will increase to 1.4 million barrels per day from its current capacity of 730,000 barrels per day. The project will be implemented in three phases with capacity increasing progressively from 2012 to 2015.

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) announced that its Australian subsidiaries have signed binding Sales and Purchase Agreements (SPAs) with Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) for the delivery of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Chevron-operated Wheatstone natural gas project in Australia. Under the agreements, Chevron, together with Apache Energy and Kufpec, will deliver up to 3.1 million tons per annum (MTPA) of LNG to TEPCO for a period of up to 20 years.

- Chevron, the second-largest American oil company, had a 43 percent jump in quarterly profit, beating estimates as high oil prices and increased refinery margins offset weaker output. The numbers were the latest in a string of huge profits from the industry, which got a lift from the highest oil prices in nearly three years. Exxon Mobil, the country’s largest oil company, and Royal Dutch Shell earlier in the week reported profits that also benefited from acquisitions and shifts into new projects. Chevron’s profit rose to $7.7 billion, or $3.85 a share, from $5.4 billion, or $2.70 a share, a year earlier. Analysts had expected $3.56 a share, according to Thomson Reuters. Revenue rose 30 percent to $69 billion. Chevron reported 2.69 million barrels per day of oil-equivalent output, compared with 2.75 million a year-ago. Chevron trimmed its 2011 production forecast to 2.76 million barrels per day because of a slower acceleration of its Perdido project in the Gulf of Mexico and a pipeline problem in Thailand. Chevron had strived for 2.79 million barrels per day, or 1 percent growth. “The full-year production impact of these two items is about 30,000 barrels per day and they are approximately split between the two,” said George Kirkland, Chevron’s vice chairman and executive vice president for upstream and gas. The company stuck to its 2011-2014 average annual production growth target of 1 percent, and 4 to 5 percent for 2014-2017.

• Business/Finance news:

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) reported in its interim update that earnings for the second quarter 2011 are expected to be higher than in the first quarter 2011.

- The Board of Directors of Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) declared a quarterly dividend of seventy-eight cents ($0.78) per share, payable September 12, 2011, to holders of common stock as shown by the transfer records of the Corporation at the close of business on August 19, 2011.

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) reported earnings of $7.7 billion ($3.85 per share – diluted) for the second quarter 2011, compared with $5.4 billion ($2.70 per share – diluted) in the 2010 second quarter.


• Upstream news:

• Downstream news:

• Business/Finance news:

- An international arbitration tribunal has awarded Chevron Corporation and Texaco Petroleum Company $96 million in a claim against Ecuador related to past oil operations by Texaco Petroleum, which is now a Chevron subsidiary. The tribunal, administered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, found that Ecuador's courts violated international law through their significant delays in ruling on certain commercial disputes between Texaco Petroleum and the Ecuadorian government. The final award also takes into account taxes, compound interest, and costs associated with the preliminary award announced in March 2010. Chevron and Texaco Petroleum filed the international arbitration case in December 2006 under the Rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). The Permanent Court of Arbitration is an intergovernmental organization with more than 100 member countries established by international convention in 1899 to facilitate arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution. The United States acceded to the Court's founding convention in 1900 and Ecuador acceded in 1907. The decision by the arbitration tribunal resolves seven commercial claims that Texaco Petroleum filed in Ecuador between 1991 and 1993. Ecuadorian courts continually delayed and refused to rule on the seven cases, which the tribunal determined was a violation of Ecuador's obligation under its Bilateral Investment Treaty with the United States to provide effective means for U.S. investors in Ecuador to assert claims and enforce their rights.


• Upstream news:

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) announced a new oil discovery at the Moccasin prospect in the deepwater U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The Keathley Canyon Block 736 Well No. 1 encountered more than 380 feet of net pay in the Lower Tertiary Wilcox Sands. The well is located approximately 216 miles off the Louisiana coast in 6,759 feet of water and was drilled to a depth of 31,545 feet.

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) welcomed Australian Commonwealth Government approval by the Federal Environment Minister, the Hon. Tony Burke, MP, for its Wheatstone Project in Western Australia. The foundation phase of the project will consist of two liquefied natural gas (LNG) trains with a combined capacity of 8.9 million tons per annum (MTPA) and a domestic gas plant. It is scheduled to start production in 2016. The environmental approval allows the project capacity to increase to 25 MTPA.

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) announced that its Australian subsidiary will proceed with the construction of its Wheatstone Project in Western Australia.

• Downstream news:

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) announced that its Australian subsidiaries have signed a Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) with Kyushu Electric Power Co. for the delivery of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Wheatstone Project in Western Australia. Under the binding agreement, Chevron, together with Apache and Kufpec, will deliver up to 0.7 million tons per annum (MTPA) of LNG to Kyushu Electric for up to 20 years

• Business/Finance news:

- The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an order denying the Ecuadorian plaintiffs' attempt to recuse Judge Lewis Kaplan, vacating Judge Kaplan's preliminary injunction against enforcement of the Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron, and staying Chevron's claim for a declaratory judgment that the Ecuadorian judgment is unenforceable. In denying the Ecuadorian plaintiffs' mandamus petition, the Second Circuit rejected accusations that Judge Kaplan is biased and refused to recuse him or otherwise reassign the case. The Second Circuit vacated the preliminary injunction after receiving on September 16, 2011 a written representation from the Ecuadorian plaintiffs' lawyers that they would not attempt to enforce the Ecuadorian judgment during the pendency of the first instance appeal in Ecuador -- a promise the Ecuadorian plaintiffs repeatedly refused to make to the trial court before and since the preliminary injunction first issued. Chevron's lawsuit against the Lago Agrio plaintiffs and their representatives for violations of the federal RICO statute, common law fraud, and other laws will continue. Chevron's claims are supported by overwhelming evidence -- documented in the Ecuadorian plaintiffs' lawyers' own documents and in their lawyers' own statements caught on videotape -- that the Lago Agrio plaintiffs' lawyers made corrupt payments to an Ecuadorian court official from a secret bank account, forged expert reports that were submitted in the name of court experts and contained fraudulent data, and even participated in the fraudulent drafting of the Ecuadorian court's judgment. There is no legitimate evidence supporting any finding of liability against Chevron because Texaco Petroleum Company cleaned up its share of environmental impacts in Ecuador and the remaining impacts are the responsibility of the government of Ecuador and its state-owned oil company, Petroecuador.

- A federal appeals court vacated an order by a New York judge that barred an $18 billion judgment in Ecuador against Chevron related to contamination in the Amazon. The three-judge panel of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit previously expressed skepticism that a New York judge could wield jurisdiction outside the United States. The lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, Pablo Fajardo, said they expected to start collecting by the first quarter of 2012 the damages that a court in Lago Agrio, Ecuador, ordered Chevron to pay.


• Upstream news:

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) announced that its Thailand subsidiary has commenced natural gas production from the Platong II project in the Gulf of Thailand. The $3.1 billion project is expected to ramp up production to 330 million cubic feet per day. The natural gas will feed growing demand for energy in Thailand, increasing the country's domestic production by more than 10 percent, and boosting Chevron's net natural gas production from the Gulf of Thailand by more than 20 percent. The project is also expected to produce 18,000 barrels per day of natural gas liquids.

- Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) announced further drilling success by its Australian subsidiary in the Carnarvon Basin offshore Western Australia, Australia's premier hydrocarbon basin. The Acme West-1 well encountered approximately 377 ft (115m) of net gas pay, while Acme West-2 well encountered 184 ft (56m) of net gas pay. The two wells, located in the WA-205-P permit area, add additional resources adjacent to last year's Acme discovery. The Acme West-1 and Acme West-2 exploration discovery wells are approximately 93 miles (150km) from Onslow, and were drilled in 3,035ft (925m) of water. Acme West -1 was drilled to a total depth of 15,558 ft (4,742 m) and Acme West 2 was drilled to 14,590 ft (4,447 m).

• Downstream news:

- Chevron Technology Ventures, a division of Chevron U.S.A. Inc. that identifies, evaluates and demonstrates emerging technologies, launched a unique demonstration project to test the viability of using solar energy to produce oil. The project uses over 7,600 mirrors to focus the sun's energy onto a solar boiler. The steam produced is injected into oil reservoirs to increase oil production. The project is the largest of its kind in the world.

• Business/Finance news:

- Two years ago, Andrew M. Cuomo, then New York’s attorney general, unexpectedly jumped into a legal fight over an issue that had little to do with the state: damage to the Amazon rain forest from oil drilling. Mr. Cuomo, now the governor of New York, subtly threatened to investigate Chevron, which is the defendant in a multibillion-dollar lawsuit over the Amazon damage that has stretched out for nearly 18 years. Mr. Cuomo indicated that he decided to get involved because Chevron might have violated state law in its handling of the litigation. But now, newly disclosed documents point to another factor. “Andrew has no interest in doing this,” a lobbyist for the plaintiffs, Ecuadorean villagers who live in the polluted area, wrote in an e-mail in 2009. “He is doing this for me. Because I asked.” The lobbyist, Karen Hinton, a former Cuomo aide, was paid $10,000 a month by those representing the Ecuadoreans, in part to obtain Mr. Cuomo’s vocal support, according to the records and interviews. The plaintiffs’ representatives also helped persuade the state comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli, to speak out against Chevron. Mr. DiNapoli has repeatedly called for Chevron to settle the suit, saying it jeopardizes the state pension fund’s $780 million investment in Chevron stock. The e-mail and other documents emerged recently in the legal battle over the Amazon drilling. They offer a rare window into the way business is often conducted in Albany’s back rooms, with well-connected lobbyists penetrating the inner circle of politicians like Mr. Cuomo and Mr. DiNapoli.

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) reported in its interim update that earnings for the third quarter 2011 are expected to be comparable with second quarter 2011 results. Lower crude oil realizations and lower liftings are expected to reduce upstream earnings. Downstream earnings in the third quarter are expected to be higher, largely reflecting an asset sale gain. Earnings in both operating segments are expected to benefit from favorable non-cash foreign currency effects due to the strengthening of the U.S. dollar in the third quarter against other major currencies.

- The Board of Directors of Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) declared a quarterly dividend of eighty-one cents ($0.81) per share, payable December 12, 2011, to holders of common stock as shown by the transfer records of the corporation at the close of business on November 18, 2011. The amount represents a 3.8 percent increase in the company's quarterly dividend and the second dividend increase in 2011. Combined, the two actions represent a 12.5 percent annual increase in the company's quarterly dividend.

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) reported earnings of $7.8 billion ($3.92 per share – diluted) for the third quarter 2011, compared with $3.8 billion ($1.87 per share – diluted) in the 2010 third quarter.

- Chevron said that its quarterly earnings more than doubled, beating Wall Street forecasts, but the oil company, America’s second-largest, again lowered expectations for full-year output. The company’s profit rose to $7.8 billion, or $3.92 a share, from $3.8 billion, or $1.87 a share, a year earlier. The average analyst estimate was $3.48 a share, according to Thomson Reuters, though the company had said this month that it would report a profit similar to the $7.7 billion it earned in the second quarter. Shares of Chevron closed 0.6 percent higher at $109.64, within sight of their record high of $110, hit the day before. Third-quarter sales rose 26 percent to $61.26 billion, while its oil and gas output fell to 2.6 million barrels of oil equivalent per day from 2.74 million a year ago. Getting production to grow remains a nagging problem for all the big oil companies. Chevron expects an increase of 100,000 to 150,000 barrels per day in the fourth quarter, driven by production in Thailand and the Gulf of Mexico from projects that are either new, upgraded or repaired. The profit growth was driven by oil prices. Benchmark Brent crude averaged $112 per barrel in the quarter, up from $77 last year. Chevron also recorded a gain of about $500 million from the sale of its British refinery to Valero Energy.


• Upstream news:

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) reiterated that its efforts to respond to oil seeps and a subsequent sheen in the vicinity of its Chevron- operated Frade project have been successful. Since receiving approval from the Brazilian National Agency of Petroleum (ANP) late Sunday, Chevron Brazil immediately commenced plugging and abandonment activities on an appraisal well within the Frade field which was suspected to be contributing to oil being expressed through seep lines located on the ocean floor. Chevron Brazil can currently advise that due to successful well control operations, the amount of oil observed coming from nearby seep lines on the ocean floor has decreased significantly. Chevron Brazil will continue to monitor the situation during the plugging and abandonment process in the coming days, which will culminate in the final cementing of the well. Chevron's current estimates continue to place the sheen volume around the approximate range previously stated of 400 - 650 barrels (64 - 104 cubic meters). Chevron Brazil is working a fleet of 17 vessels. There are currently up to eight vessels working at the sheen with six vessels working in pairs to contain and recover the oil near the head of the sheen and two boats working on mechanical dispersion toward the tail of the sheen.

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) confirms that cementing operations are taking place as part of its well plugging activities on an appraisal well located in the vicinity of the Frade field offshore Brazil. Chevron also confirms that there has never been any oil flow from the wellhead and current monitoring indicates oil from nearby seep lines on the ocean floor have reduced to infrequent droplets. Chevron continues to work in close partnership with its drilling contractor, Transocean, on well plugging operations. All development well drilling in the field continues to be suspended. Chevron has continued to monitor the oil sheen which has substantially dissipated. Current estimates place the volume of the oil sheen on the ocean surface to be less than 65 barrels. The sheen is located about 120 kilometers offshore and continues to move in a south-easterly direction away from the Brazilian coast.

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) reports that its subsidiary, Chevron Brasil Upstream Frade Ltda., continues to work in partnership with Brazilian government agencies to contain, reduce and eliminate the remaining oil sheen in the vicinity of its Frade field. The sheen, estimated at approximately 18 barrels or less in volume, is located about 120 kilometers offshore Brazil and continues moving away from the coast.

- Chevron came under intense scrutiny in Brazil over an oil spill at an offshore field the company operates, with federal investigators here threatening fines for Chevron and potential prison terms for its officials if they are found guilty of violating environmental contamination laws. The response to the spill, which Chevron said it was notified of on Nov. 8 and which left an oil sheen near Brazil’s southeast coast, is an important test for the authorities as Brazil moves to tap oil from its large recent offshore discoveries. If Brazil meets its ambitious production goals, it may emerge by the 2020s as the world’s fourth-largest oil producer after Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States. While the spill, from an appraisal well in the Campos Basin, is thought to be much smaller than BP’s oil spill last year in the Gulf of Mexico and is said by Chevron to have almost dissipated, it also presents an additional challenge for Chevron in Latin America. In nearby Ecuador, Chevron has faced seething resentment and a protracted legal battle over oil contamination in the country’s rain forest. Fábio Scliar, the head of the environment affairs division of the federal police, flew this week over the area of the spill, where Chevron has said it has 18 vessels controlling and is monitoring the sheen. In an interview, Mr. Scliar expressed annoyance over Chevron’s handling of the spill and its methods of cooperating with Brazilian investigators. “They’ve been very resistant about providing information, and they were hesitant about allowing me to land on the platform,” Mr. Scliar said. “We had to be rather energetic with them about our requests.” Mr. Scliar said Chevron employees could face prison terms of several years if they were found to have violated environmental laws.

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) reports that its subsidiary, Chevron Brasil Upstream Frade Ltda., has issued an estimate of total oil volume from ocean floor seep lines in the vicinity of its Frade Field. Chevron believes that approximately 2,400 barrels of oil have been emitted to date since seeps were first detected on November 9. The company notes that this estimate is within the current range of 1,600 to 2,640 barrels provided by Brazil's National Petroleum Agency (ANP).

- Chevron faces fines of as much as $83 million for an oil spill this month off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, the authorities said. The fines reflect the government’s anger over Chevron’s handling of the spill. Chevron may also face additional fines and legal penalties, officials said. Haroldo Lima, head of the National Petroleum Agency, said the spill could complicate Chevron’s hopes of gaining access to new offshore exploration areas. Federal investigators said Chevron employees might also face prison terms. Chevron said in a statement that it had not yet received official notice of any fines and would respond if it did.

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) reports that while its subsidiary, Chevron Brasil Upstream Frade Ltda., has not received formal notice from Brazil's National Petroleum Agency (ANP) suspending its drilling license, the company has voluntarily suspended its current and future drilling operations, offshore Brazil. The voluntary suspension includes the company's permitted pre-salt wells in the Frade field with the exception of current plug and abandonment activities. The suspension is indefinite. Chevron acknowledges, however, that ANP has posted a notice of suspension to its website. Chevron's decision to suspend its drilling operations has no impact on its current production in the Frade field or on other Frade field operations. Production from the Frade field is approximately 79,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (approximately 36,000 barrels net). Chevron had previously suspended development drilling in the Frade field on November 9 after it became aware of oil migrating from seep lines in the ocean floor. Chevron also reports that the volume of oil currently contained in the sheen on the ocean's surface has been further reduced to about one barrel through cleaning and dispersion methods approved by Brazilian authorities. Chevron was successful in stopping the primary source of the oil sheen ten days ago. The company reiterated that it adheres to all the rules and regulation of the Government of Brazil and its agencies. Updated video footage of the seeps on the ocean floor and current photos of the sheen on the ocean's surface are available on Chevron's Media Updates page.

• Downstream news:

• Business/Finance news:

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) named Joseph C. Geagea corporate vice president and president, Chevron Gas and Midstream, effective January 1, 2012. Geagea, 52, succeeds John D. Gass who will retire from Chevron after more than 37 years with the company. Geagea is currently the managing director responsible for Chevron's exploration and production activities in the Asia South region, including Thailand, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and China. In his new role, Geagea will be responsible for commercializing Chevron's natural gas resources and supporting the development of new growth opportunities worldwide. He will also oversee Chevron's shipping, pipeline, power and natural gas trading operations. Geagea will report to George L. Kirkland, Chevron's vice chairman and executive vice president of Upstream and Gas.


• Upstream news:

- Chevron Brasil Upstream Frade Ltda. announced it has been ordered by Brazil's National Petroleum Agency (ANP) to shut in one of its 11 production wells and four produced water injection wells at its off-shore Frade joint-venture floating production-storage and offloading (FPSO) facility. The move by the ANP follows the agency's Nov. 23 to 25 safety audit of the Frade FPSO, the company said. The production well cited by the ANP accounts for less than 10 percent of Frade's total production of about 79,000 barrels per day (approximately 36,000 barrels net). Chevron respects the decisions of the ANP and will respond appropriately to the agency's requests for clarification. All Frade production and injection wells are safe and secure. Chevron continues to fully inform and work with Brazilian government agencies to address their specific issues on our activities in Brazil. With regard to the reported existence of hydrogen sulfide gas as the basis for requesting the well be shut in, Chevron clarifies that it conducts regular monitoring of the substance, a natural byproduct of the oil and gas production process, and the company has safety systems and processes in place to ensure the safety of employees, contractors and the operations at all times. Chevron is confident it will successfully respond to the ANP's concerns and be able to resume operation of its production and injection wells in due time.

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) announced a $32.7 billion capital and exploratory spending program for 2012. Included in the 2012 program are $3 billion of planned expenditures by affiliates, which do not require cash outlays by Chevron. Total investments for 2011 are estimated at $33 billion, reflecting approximately $28 billion in capital and exploratory expenditures and $4.5 billion for the acquisition of Atlas Energy, Inc., which closed earlier in the year.

- Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) announced a natural gas discovery by its Australian subsidiary in the Exmouth Plateau area of the Carnarvon Basin, offshore Western Australia. The Vos-1 well encountered approximately 453 feet (138 meters) of net gas pay. Located in the WA-439-P permit area approximately 186 miles (300 kilometers) from Exmouth on the Western Australian coast, the well was drilled in 4869 feet (1484 meters) of water to a depth of 12,461 feet (3798 meters).

• Downstream news:

• Business/Finance news:

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) said a Brazilian federal district prosecutor has told reporters that he will file a civil lawsuit against Chevron and other companies seeking a reported 20 billion reais ($10.7 billion) in damages, and an injunction stopping Chevron's activities in Brazil. Chevron has not received any formal notice of this action. Chevron also has not received any instruction from the regulatory agencies with oversight responsibility for our activities in Brazil regarding suspension of our operations. From the outset, Chevron responded responsibly to the incident at its Frade Field and has dealt transparently with all Brazilian authorities. The flow of oil from the source was stopped within four days and the company continues to make significant progress in containing any residual oil. Chevron has also continued to address the surface sheen, which is now less than a single barrel. There have been no coastal or wildlife impacts.

- The scoreboard showed Tiger Woods locked in a duel with Zach Johnson over the final holes at Sherwood Country Club. In fact, Woods’s real battle down the stretch was with himself. The Chevron World Challenge, an unofficial PGA Tour event hosted by Woods, was his 27th start since his last victory, at the Australian Masters in November 2009. For athletes in their primes, two years can feel like two decades. So when Woods birdied the final hole to defeat Johnson by one stroke, it seemed to matter not that the field consisted of 18 players, none of whom were ranked in the top five, or that the victory did not earn Woods a berth to the 2012 season-opening champions event in Maui.

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) confirmed that the Karachaganak project partners have reached an agreement with the government of Kazakhstan for it to become a 10 percent equity owner in the Karachaganak project. The transfer of equity to the Kazakhstan government is anticipated to occur on June 30, 2012.

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) and Texas Children's Hospital announced a $6 million, five-year agreement to expand the hospital's Global Health Corps program that provides life-saving pediatric health care, treatment and training to the most medically underserved populations in Africa.

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) released the following statement from Hewitt Pate, vice president and general counsel, regarding the recent announcement by Ecuador's state oil company, Petroecuador, that the company will complete its remediation of the sites it is responsible for under a 1995 agreement entered into with Texaco Petroleum Co. (TexPet) at the conclusion of an oil-producing consortium: "Chevron welcomes Petroecuador's announcement that it will remediate the remaining sites it is responsible for under the remediation agreement. Petroecuador's $70 million remediation budget, which covers an area larger than that of TexPet's remediation, is within a reasonable cost range under U.N. standards. This figure stands in contrast to the multi-billion dollar claim fabricated by American plaintiffs' lawyers to extort money from Chevron through a ghost-written judgment. The Ecuadorian government deserves credit for taking positive steps to help the people and environment of the Oriente and to break the cycle of corruption and misinformation caused by the fraudulent case against Chevron. Petroecuador's remediation should be completed without further interference, and the perpetrators of the fraudulent litigation -- who have lobbied to delay the remediation -- should be brought to justice. Chevron would welcome a constructive dialogue with the government of Ecuador on both topics."

- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) published a letter submitted to Galo Chiriboga, Ecuador's Prosecutor General, documenting evidence of fraud and corruption in the litigation against Chevron in Ecuador. The company called on Ecuadorian authorities to investigate the misconduct of the plaintiffs' lawyers and the presiding judge, Nicholas Zambrano, in the drafting of the fraudulent judgment rendered against Chevron earlier this year