Exxon negotiating with Chad over US$74b fine
N’DJAMENA: ExxonMobil Corp is negotiating with Chad over a record US$74 billion (RM320.4 billion) fine the US oil company was told to pay by a court in the central African nation over unpaid royalties, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.
Exxon has appealed against the Oct 5 court ruling, but the appeals court hearing has been delayed because of the talks, Bloomberg reported, citing a lawyer for Exxon. Exxon declined to comment.
The court decision fined a consortium led by Exxon over 44 trillion CFA francs (US$73.44 billion) – nearly four times BP’s Deepwater Horizon settlement and roughly seven times Chad’s annual gross domestic product.
The consortium, which includes Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd and Chadian oil company SNT, were found to owe the country nearly 484 billion CFA francs (US$808 million) in royalties, according to the court judgment. It did not explain why the penalty amounted to more than 90 times that.
The unpaid royalties stem from a dispute over fees, sources in the Chadian finance ministry have told Reuters. The finance ministry is seeking a 2% royalty fee from the consortium, a rate the defendants have said is higher than the agreed level.