PEOPLES OF THE WORLD RESIST CHEVRON! CHEVRON OUT OF THE CORDILLERA, PHILIPPINES NOW!

Image

Chevron Corporation (Chevron) is a US-owned energy company. It is a notorious polluter of land, air and bodies of water; emitter of Greenhouse Gasses (GHG) that worsens the climate crisis; violator of human rights and indigenous peoples’ rights; destroyer of natural environments; and cause of killer diseases among humans. Indigenous peoples are among the affected populations that suffer the worse from these ill effects of Chevron’s operations.

It is one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies. Chevron’s headquarters is located in San Ramon, California, United States (US) and operates in 180 countries. It engages in petroleum operations, chemical operations, mining operations, power generation and production of geothermal energy and other renewable energy. Its upstream operations consist primarily of exploring for, developing and producing crude oil by international export pipelines; transporting, storage and marketing of natural gas; and gas-to-liquids projects. Its downstream operations consist of refining crude oil into petroleum products; marketing of crude oil and refined products; transporting crude oil and refined products by pipeline, marine vessel, motor equipment and rail car, and manufacturing and marketing of commodity petrochemicals, plastics for industrial uses and fuel and lubricant additives.

Chevron traces its beginnings to an 1879 oil discovery at Pico Canyon, California, which led to the formation of the Pacific Coast Oil Co. that it later named Standard Oil Co. of California, subsequently, Chevron. It took on the name Chevron in 1984 when it acquired Gulf Oil Corporation, which nearly doubled its worldwide-proved crude oil and natural gas reserves. A major branch is The Texas Fuel Company, formed in Beaumont, Texas in 1901. This became The Texas Company and, eventually, Texaco. In 2001, Chevron and Texaco merged. In 2005, the merger acquired Unocal Corporation, which strengthened Chevron’s position as an energy industry leader, increasing its crude oil and natural gas assets around the world. In 2011, it bought Atlas Energy Inc.

Chevron is the second largest oil company in the US and the largest private producer of oil in Kazakhstan. It is the largest resource holder and producer among international oil companies in the Asia-Pacific region, leading natural gas and oil producer in Thailand, and top oil producer in Indonesia. One of the top petroleum producers in Angola, third largest oil producer in Nigeria, one of the leading private oil companies in Venezuela, and the only large international energy company with a continuous presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. According to the company’s website, in 2012, it had a worldwide net oil-equivalent production averaged at 2.61 million barrels per day. About 75 percent of that production occurred outside the US. For the second quarter of 2013, its earnings reached 5.4 billion US dollars, with 55 billion US dollar sales and other operating revenues.

Chevron also operates one of the most dangerous coalmines in the US – the Kemmerer Coal Mines, the largest open pit mine in the US and in the list of top companies with the most outstanding health and safety violations in 2010. Chevron Mining Inc., one of the oldest continuously operating mining companies in the US, owns three coalmines in Alabama, New Mexico and in Wyoming. Chevron Mining also produces molybdenum.

In partnership with ConocoPhillips, Chevron operates 35 chemical manufacturing facilities across the US and around the world, producing a host of toxic chemicals (polystyrene, styrene, paraxylene, and benzene, a known human carcinogen) that are dangerous to the host communities and where the products are disposed of.

Chevron’S Operations in the Philippines

Chevron is the world’s leading producer of geothermal energy. According to the company, most of its renewable energy investments are in geothermal. It has four geothermal plants, located in Indonesia and the Philippines. Its two geothermal energy projects in the Philippines are the Tiwi power plant in Albay province, and the Mak-Ban power plant in Laguna and Batangas provinces. Chevron develops and produces steam for the Tiwi and Mak-Ban power plants, with a combined generating capacity of 637 megawatts through its subsidiary, Philippine Geothermal Production Company or PGPC (formerly known as Chevron Geothermal Philippines Holdings, Inc.). The PGPC is 60% owned by the Sy Group or SM Group and 40% owned by Chevron, to comply with the Philippine Constitution, which limits foreign equity ownership of business entities to only 40%. PGPC has been operating the Tiwi and MakBan steam field assets since September 1971 or 42 years now. On April 25, 2013, the Department of Energy of the Philippines issued new service contracts to PGPC’s Tiwi and MakBan geothermal projects, granting PGPC 25 more years to operate, renewable for another 15 years. However, the issuance of new service contracts is questionable as this violates the maximum 50-year term for service contracts according to Philippine law. If we used 2013 as reference, then PGPC only has eight years left for its Tiwi and MakBan steamfield operations.

Chevron is also one of the largest investors in the Philippine energy industry, with more than $2 billion in capital investments. Its subsidiary, Chevron Philippines Inc., markets Caltex fuels, lubricants and petroleum products. In partnership with Petron Corp. and Pilipinas Shell Corp., it owns and operates since 2004 an oil terminal in Pandacan, Manila – the Pandacan Depot Services Inc. The depot sits atop 81 acres of land, with over 84,000 residents living in the immediate area, and 11 million residents in the vicinity. Residents fear that the Pandacan depot could be one of the biggest disasters waiting to happen in the petrochemical industry. Oil spills, leakages and explosions from the depot and connected pipeline have been poisoning the community. In 2001, a gas leak from the depot hospitalized dozens of students at the neighboring campus, the Polytechnic University of the Philippine. Studies show that Pandacan residents suffer from long-term exposure and illnesses associated with the depot operations.

In natural gas extraction, Chevron holds a 45% interest in the Malampaya natural gas field located 50 miles offshore Palawan Island. The Malampaya gas-to-power project is the first natural gas development and largest industrial project in the Philippines. The Malampaya project supplies 2,700 megawatts or up to 45 percent of Luzon’s power requirements. The Philippine government earned $1.1 billion revenue from the Malampaya natural gas project for its operations in 2011, and another $1.1 billion for its 2012 operations. The funds from the Malampaya project, called Malampaya Fund, augmented the government’s pork barrel fund, which has been a source of government corruption.

CHEVRON EYES GEOTHERMAL ENERGY IN THE CORDILLERA, PHILIPPINES

Chevron is currently expanding its geothermal energy projects in the Philippines. In 2010, Chevron entered into a joint venture with APC Group Inc., a subsidiary of SM Group, and Guidance Management Corp., to explore, develop and operate the Kalinga geothermal prospect in the Cordillera region. The project covers 25,682 hectares of geothermal fields and plant. APC is investing $300 million to put up the project, which it targets to start producing electricity by 2018 with a capacity of 100 megawatts. The companies have already completed geological and geophysical surveys and are currently in the process of securing the consent of affected indigenous communities. The companies plan to drill exploration wells by third quarter of 2014. 

The two other geothermal prospects of Chevron are the PNOC Renewables Corporation-Magma Energy Resources project covering 23,328 hectares of land in Buguias, Benguet province and Tinoc, Ifugao province; and the PRC-Magma project covering 36,288 hectares geothermal fields and plants in the Bontoc, Sadanga and Barlig towns of Mountain Province. The APC Group also owns the Mainit-Sadanga geothermal project in Mountain Province covering 58,911 hectares and has a power-generation potential of 60-100 MW, and the Buguias-Tinoc geothermal prospect in the provinces of Benguet and Ifugao. APC Group is open to selling the project, which Chevron might acquire. 

Impact of Chevron’s GLOBAL Operations

While the people of the world clamor for solutions to the climate crisis, Chevron’s energy operations continue to contribute largely in GHG emissions. In 2009, the California Air Resources Board revealed that Chevron is the single largest stationary emitter of GHG in California. Numerous oil spills and dumping of toxic pollutants were reported in various areas of Chevron’s operations in the US, Ecuador, Angola, Brazil, Indonesia, Philippines and other parts of the world where it operates. Chevron’s oil, gas, mining and energy operations are causing massive pollution, contamination and destruction of ecosystems and biodiversity, forests, bodies of water, lands, and the air.

In Chevron’s oil operations worldwide, massive amount of chemicals are released daily into the atmosphere including Benzene, a known carcinogen which can cause nausea, fatigue, impaired speech, tremors, depression, cerebral atophy, liver and kidney damage, cardiac arrhythmia and death. In Ecuador, scientific surveys have confirmed that the rates of cancer, including mouth, stomach and uterine cancer; abnormal number of miscarriages; and birth defects among children whose mothers were exposed to contaminated water are elevated in areas contaminated by Texaco’s oil project. Chevron is also responsible for widespread health problems in Richmond, California, where one of Chevron’s largest oil refineries is located, including high rates of lupus, skin rashes, rheumatic fever, liver problems, kidney problems, tumors, cancer, asthma, and eye problems. At least 15,000 people were brought to hospitals for treatment of respiratory complications and other illnesses resulting from a massive pipeline leak in 2012. Richmond is said to have the highest rates of asthma in the US, and one of the highest rates of cancer.

Violations of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Human Rights

Chevron operates profit-driven and destructive projects at the cost of indigenous peoples’ lives; violating their inherent collective rights over ancestral lands and territories, forests and natural resources, self-determination, culture and identity, and human rights. It is also violating indigenous peoples’ right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) as in the case of its geothermal projects in the Cordillera, Philippines, in Ecuador and other indigenous territories in different countries.

Majority of the affected indigenous communities oppose Chevron’s geothermal energy project in Kalinga and other prospects in the Cordillera, Philippines. However, the government’s National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) that is facilitating the FPIC of affected indigenous communities is working in favor of the company. In Chevron’s Kalinga project, the NCIP faked the FPIC of one of the affected communities. NCIP has also ignored community petitions against the project. Chevron’s geothermal energy projects are also causing divisions and conflicts among the affected communities.

In Ecuador, Texaco operated from 1964 to 1992 in indigenous territories of the Cofan, Siona, Secoya, Kichwa and Huaorani, during which it deliberately dumped more than 18 billion gallons of toxic wastewater, spilled roughly 17 million gallons of crude oil, and left hazardous waste in hundreds of open pits. This is one of the worst environmental disasters on the planet. For indigenous peoples, the oil operations severely affected their culture and traditions, economic livelihood, and health; and displaced indigenous communities. Up to this day, Chevron’s oil wastes continue to poison the rainforest ecosystem.

According to the Ecuadorian government, Texaco has contaminated two million hectares of land. In 2011, an Ecuadorian court ordered Chevron to pay compensation of $19 billion to clean up the mess caused by its toxic waste and restore the Amazon rainforest. However, to escape from its responsibilities to the environment and indigenous peoples in Ecuador, Chevron brought the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, The Netherlands that unfortunately ruled in favor of Chevron on September 2013.

Indigenous peoples affected by Chevron’s operations elsewhere in the world are experiencing similar rights abuses. Indigenous peoples in Riau province in the center of Sumatra Island, Indonesia and the Wayuu indigenous peoples in Colombia and Venezuela have likewise been displaced from their ancestral lands, and are suffering from the health effects and environmental destruction caused by Chevron’s oil operations for decades. Indigenous communities in Canada are threatened by Chevron’s tar sands mining projects.

Most of Chevron’s human rights abuses result from the deployment of government military troops in securing their project operations, and the repression and suppression of people’s opposition to the projects. Chevron has employed brutal measures to quiet protests, including utilizing government security services bringing charges of human rights abuse, violence and intimidation against indigenous peoples as experienced in Indonesia, Myanmar, and Angola. These human rights abuses also include forced labor, rape, beatings, torture, summary executions, extrajudicial killings, and political intimidations. In 2010, EarthRights International documented two cases of extrajudicial killings by Burmese Army providing security for Chevron’s Yadana project. The Yadana project was dubbed as “one of the world’s most controversial development projects and is widely recognized as a textbook example of corporate complicity in human rights abuses.”

Chevron has also been attacking human rights and environment advocate groups such as Amazon Watch, Rainforest Action Network and other non-government organizations that have helped in the global campaign for Chevron to face its accountabilities in Ecuador.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ ISSUES AND DEMANDS

Chevron illustrates corporate control of the world’s natural resources, and strengthening the US’ imperialist domination of the world’s populace. In the name of profit and power, Chevron is commodifying the world’s remaining natural resources and forests that are in indigenous peoples’ territories.

In all of its crimes against humanity and Mother Earth, Chevron continues to deny its responsibilities and accountabilities. It manages to turn court rulings in its favor in numerous cases filed against the company for violations of human rights, massive environmental destruction, effects of its operations to human health, and complete disregard of indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination and their inherent collective rights to their land, territories and natural resources. The company continues to employ government military troops in suppressing peoples’ opposition.

Chevron is infamous for using money to ensure political influence in the US and around the world, and the continuous flow of profit from its numerous operations. In 2009, Chevron earned a spot on the top ten list of highest spenders on all federal lobbying, with more than $21 million spent on federal lobbying. It was the fourth largest federal campaign contributor from the oil and gas sector during 2009-2010, with 82% of its nearly $940,000 in contributions to Republican candidates. It likewise doled out $500,000 to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “which is leading the fight to demonize pending EPA rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The company is undeniably worsening the current multiple crisis that we face today. It is exacerbating the climate crisis, pushing more people into deeper poverty and health crisis, and aggravating the marginalization and discrimination of indigenous peoples. If the company’s human rights abuses and environmental destruction in the US is unhampered and continues with impunity, what more in developing countries whose governments the US directly or indirectly control.

Indigenous peoples demand Chevron to STOP and pullout its numerous projects from indigenous territories. These projects give nothing but destruction and disregard of the natural environment, which indigenous peoples depend on for survival. Indigenous peoples do not benefit from any of Chevron’s activities but instead, it threatens with ethnocide.

Indigenous peoples join the millions of people worldwide that are waging struggles against Chevron – a fight against imperialism, a struggle against the economic, social and political domination of the world by corporations and the US.

Furthermore, indigenous peoples urge Chevron, governments, the United Nations and other inter-governmental bodies, and the civil society to:

  • Ensure the respect and genuine recognition of indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination, to their lands, territories and resources, to self-determined and sustainable development, and to Free, Prior and Informed Consent of affected indigenous peoples;
  • Uphold the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and other international agreements and declarations on indigenous peoples’ rights human rights;
  • Provide just compensation and rehabilitation of affected indigenous communities, clean-up Chevron’s wastes in Ecuador and other countries where it operates;
  • Punish Chevron for its crimes against indigenous peoples, and the environment;
  • Support indigenous peoples’ struggles against Chevron’s operations and resisting Chevron in indigenous territories, and the solidarity and cooperation of indigenous peoples with other sectors of society and peoples affected by Chevron; and
  • Support the indigenous peoples’ struggle against Chevron’s geothermal energy projects in the Cordillera region, Philippines.

For more information on how you can help, contact the Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance secretariat at cpa@cpaphils.org.

Cordillera Peoples Alliance. November 2013

References:

  1. Official website of Chevron Corporation. www.chevron.com.
  2. Chevron news release. “Chevron Reports Second Quarter Net Income of $5.4 Billion.” August 2, 2013.
  3. The True Cost of Chevron: An Alternative Annual Report. May 2009. www.TrueCostofChevron.com
  4. The True Cost of Chevron: An Alternative Annual Report. May 2010. www.TrueCostofChevron.com
  5. The True Cost of Chevron: An Alternative Annual Report. May 2011. www.TrueCostofChevron.com
  6. Gonzales, Iris. “Malampaya group prepares next phase of project development.” The Philippine Star. September 27, 2013.
  7. ChevronToxico. http://chevrontoxico.com
  8. “The 14 Worst Corporate Evildoers.” International Labor Rights Forum. http://www.laborrights.org/creating-a-sweatfree-world/ethical-consumerism/news/11434
  9. Ecuador protests denial of US visas for plaintiffs in Chevron oil damages case. September 21, 2013. http://rt.com/news/ecuador-protests-denial-us-visas-162/
  10. Ecuador Suffers Yet Another Setback in Case against Chevron as International Tribunal Absolves the Company of Responsibility for ‘Collective’ Damage. http://www.ibtimes.com/ecuador-suffers-yet-another-setback-case-against-chevron-international-tribunal-absolves-company
  11. “Over 200 Arrested at Anti-Chevron Protests This Weekend.” August 5, 2013. http://www.popularresistance.org/over-200-arrested-at-anti-chevron-protests-this-weekend/
  12. Chevron Eyes more Geothermal Energy Projects. July 3, 2013. http://ph.news.yahoo.com/chevron-eyes-more-geothermal-projects-214157752.html
  13. APC Group plans $300m investment into project in Kalinga. June 19, 2013. http://thinkgeoenergy.com/archives/15758