Texas Threatens ExxonMobil with Billion-Dollar Sabotage Fine

Monday, July 20, 2009

Jerry Patterson, commissioner of the Texas General Land Office, is going after ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company, for sabotaging a hundred oil wells almost 20 years ago. The wells are located on land owned by the O’Connor family, which leased an area near Corpus Christi to the petroleum giant in exchange for a 50-50 cut of oil sales from the 1950s to the late 1980s. That relationship ended badly after Exxon tried to negotiate a more lucrative deal, leading to the company pulling out and filling in the wells. But Exxon didn’t just fill in the wells, it sabotaged them, according to Patterson, who wants the company to pay $1 billion in fines.

“Exxon committed irrefutable, intentional and flagrant violations of state rules regulating the oilfield,” Patterson said in a prepared statement. He has accused the company of intentionally damaging the oil wells to keep others from using them—by dumping junk, sludge and even explosives down them. Patterson has requested the Railroad Commission of Texas, which regulates the state’s oil and gas production, to hold hearings about the allegations.
-Noeel Brinlerhoff
Exxon Could Face $1 Billion In Fines -Texas Agency (by Angel Gonzalez, Dow Jones Newswires)


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