Chevron bosses are facing shareholders for the first time since the company was fined a total of $18bn (£11.1bn) by a court in Ecuador over contamination from oil extraction in the Amazon. California’s largest oil company is coming under increasing pressure from institutional investors and long-term shareholders who are gathering at the annual general meeting at Chevron’s HQ in San Ramon, near San Francisco.
A judge ruled in February this year that the company was liable to pay $8.6bn in damages, mostly to decontaminate polluted soil. The judge also awarded $860,000 to plaintiffs and a further $8.6bn in punitive damages. Chevron has appealed the decision, which amounts to the largest award in corporate history, exceeded only by BP’s $20bn compensation fund after the Gulf oil spill. Chevron’s earnings were $6.2bn in the first quarter of 2011, up from $4.6bn last year.