Comments on Chevron-Ecuador in Argentina

An informed observer sends this in:

I love the subsidiaries argument. As in, this thing belongs to me, but when you want to take it away from me, it doesn’t belong to me, it belongs to something that belongs to me, therefore you can’t take it from me. I’m a bit disappointed this has been taken at face value.

… Pretty quick turnaround for a decision of that magnitude. And pretty lame that the judge said “If you want to appeal this decision, take it back to Ecuador, because that’s where we go the order from.” Seems flimsy. A pretty big fight for Argentina, which already has some nasty fights on the horizon anyway.

But I kinda want to think this will eventually make Chevron uncomfortable. Best case scenario would be at some point they’d stumble across a legal regulation that says they have to provision some part of this, which means they have to put it on their books, which gets investors talking about it, which means it gets interesting. I’m guessing we’ll never get to that.

Speaking of subsidiaries, here’s a link to Chevron’s annual report to the US securities regulator. I can’t find the part where they say “those 27,000 barrels a day of oil equivalent we’re producing in Argentina, we shouldn’t count those cause they really aren’t ours, they belong to a subsidiary that has nothing to do with us, really guv.” However I do see that the company makes some rather lawyerly terms, and I wonder if this is what they are going to rely on: “Although each subsidiary of Chevron is responsible for its own affairs, Chevron Corporation manages its investments in these subsidiaries and their affiliates.” I certainly don’t know Argentina corporations law, so I have no idea how all this plays out. The only clear winner I see is Buenos Aires law firms and their caterers.

Oh also, you can see how important the market thinks this is: CVX stock has moved with XOM, its closest competitor, for last 2 days. No obvious news-driven divergence, just CVX winning by a bit.

2 thoughts on “Comments on Chevron-Ecuador in Argentina

  1. etudiant

    Chevron has this week reportedly agreed with YPF to develop Argentina’s large shale oil resources, over Repsol’s objections.
    According to the Swiss paper Neue Zuericher Zeitung, dated Dec 21,2012, CHevron and YPF will share in an initial $1billion investment to drill about 100 exploratory holes in the 30,000km Vaca Muerta deposit with eventual production of 12,000bbl/day. A larger development covering about 600km would require $15 billion investment.
    Could this could impact the willingness of the Argentine state to support the Ecuador lawsuit against Chevron? Stay tuned.

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