ChevronTexaco Fined for Causing Environmental Damage

Angola has fined ChevronTexaco $2 million for causing environmental damage. The fine is the first the African nation has levied against an oil company operating in its waters, a spokesman for the Ministry of Fisheries and the Environment said. The fine was levied because of pollution of beaches and damage to fishing in the Cabinda region, one of the former Portuguese colony's main offshore oil regions.

ChevronTexaco has been notified of the fine, with the knowledge of the Supreme Court and the Petroleum Ministry. Investigations in May and June showed that Cabinda oil spills were caused by obsolete tubing. ChevronTexaco has promised to invest $108 million to replace pipes. On Thursday, ChevronTexaco said it reduced crude production in Angola by about 55,000 barrels per day or 12 percent after a leak at a crude pipeline. The pipeline transports oil from the Malongo area to its export terminal in Cabinda. The pipeline has been shut for about two weeks after leaks were discovered.