N'DJAMENA, Oct 6 ExxonMobil said on
Thursday it disagreed with a court decision in Chad that fined a
consortium led by the U.S. oil major over 44 trillion CFA francs
($75 billion) - nearly four times BP's record Deepwater Horizon
settlement - over unpaid royalties.
The decision would see the central African nation awarded
the equivalent of nearly seven times its annual gross domestic
"We disagree with the Chadian court's ruling and are
evaluating next steps," Exxon media advisor Todd Spitler said in
an emailed response to a Reuters request for comment.
Malaysian state oil firm Petronas and Chadian oil company
SNT, the two other consortium members, were not immediately
reachable for comment.
The court judgment released on Wednesday found that the
companies owed nearly 484 billion CFA francs in royalties to the
Chadian government. It did not explain why the penalties
amounted to more than 90 times that amount.
The court document also stated that the companies were
required to pay roughly $670 million pending any eventual appeal
or redress they might choose to pursue.
Officials from Chad's finance ministry and customs office
declined to comment on the court decision, which resulted from a
complaint brought by the ministry.
Sources in the finance ministry have previously said that
the unpaid royalties stem from a dispute over fees.
The finance ministry, they said, is seeking a 2 percent
royalty fee from the consortium, a rate the defendants have said
is higher than the agreed level.
"This dispute relates to disagreement over commitments made
by the government to the consortium, not the government's
ability to impose taxes," Exxon's Spitler said.
"It is vital for all parties to honour the terms of a
contract and abide by applicable law in order to achieve the
desired long-term benefits envisioned when projects begin," he
Chad became an oil producer in 2003 and produces around
120,000 barrels per day that it exports via pipeline through
Like many oil-dependent African nations, Chad has been hit
hard by a drop in crude prices. Its economy is expected to
contract by 1.1 percent this year, according to the
International Monetary Fund.
($1 = 587.6700 CFA francs)
(Reporting by Madjiasra Nako; Additional reporting and writing
by Joe Bavier in Abidjan, editing by David Evans)