Essay: Amazon Crude
Essay: Amazon Crude
Introduction to the Documentary
The documentary “Amazon Crude” was presented in CBS Television’s most popular program “60 minutes”. It documents the case of the lawsuit that has been brought forward by Ecuadorian people again Chevron, the parent company of Texaco, who was responsible for conducting oil exploration and drilling operations in Ecuador from 1960s to 1990s. Chevron is held responsible under the lawsuit for significant damage that has been caused to the Ecuadorian rainforest through oil fields which developed in it by Texaco and if the company loses the case Chevron will have to pay $27 billion in damages. Texaco left Ecuador in 1991, transferring all its operation to Petroecuador, an Ecuadorian oil giant (CBS News, 2009).
Background of the Case
American oil giant Texaco entered the Ecuadorian market in 1960s, to expand its operations in South America. For this purpose it formed a partnership with Ecuadorian oil company Petroecuador and began conducting oil operations in one of largest oil reserves in South America. During its 30 year operation in Ecuador, Texaco pumped out 1.5 billion barrels of oil and made numerous oil fields, a large number of which were situated in the middle of the oil field. The by-products from these operations (such as production water) and leaks from abandoned oil fields by Texaco have caused a lot of damage to the Ecuadorian rainforest which is used by natives for essential purposes.
Opinion on the Documentary
After watching the documentary, I am of the opinion that Chevron is facing charges that it is shall not. I believe that Ecuadorian government is more responsible for the damage caused to the rainforest than Chevron. It was Ecuadorian government which was too keen to develop its oil facilities in 1960s but the fact that it did not put in place the necessary measures to enforce no or minimum damage to the environment makes it the prime candidate for holding responsibility of this “crime”. Perhaps it was too busy enjoying the benefits that it gained from exploring millions of barrels of oils each year. Furthermore, the conduct of Ecuadorian government during the phase when Texaco was wrapping up its operations is also questionable. The lawyer who has filed the suit may hold Chevron responsible for not cleaning up properly, despite numerous cleanup activities Chevron did to ensure that abandoned and operational oil fields did not cause damage, but in the end the responsibility falls with the Ecuadorian government to ensure the quality of those operations and safety of its people. This can also be backed by the fact that Ecuadorian government did an agreement in 1990s with Texaco for cleaning up its operation and clearly released Texaco of any liabilities that would occur afterwards.