CVX

Chevron to pay over $13 million in settlement for California oil spills

Credit: REUTERS/GABY ORAA

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March 21 (Reuters) - Chevron CVX.N will pay $13.1 million in settlement agreements with two California state agencies for past oil spills in Kern County, Bakersfield, the California natural resources agency said on Wednesday, as the major oil producing state strengthens regulations.

Chevron, which has already paid for the cleanup costs for its oil spills in 2019, will pay $5.6 million to the California Department of Conservation, and $7.5 million to California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the agency said in a statement.

Chevron spilled a minimum of 800,000 gallons of oil and water into a creek bed in Kern county in 2019, according to local media.

The state agency's report says that this is the biggest fine to date for the two departments in California.

"The settlements demonstrate our continuing commitment to take action to address issues and prevent similar incidents in the future," Chevron said in an emailed response to Reuters.

Of the money collected, $5.6 million will go towards ongoing work to plug old, orphaned wells and $7.5 million will go towards environmental enhancement projects, oil wildlife response preparedness and future spill response funding, the report added.

CDFW documented over 70 oil spills between 2018 and 2023 in Kern County attributable to Chevron, which accounted for more than 446,600 gallons (10,633 barrels) of oil spilled, according to the report.

As the most populous U.S. state fights against climate change, oil giants ExxonXOM.N and Chevron have written down $5 billion to impair existing assets in California. Official remarks from both companies show their discontent with the state's regulatory policies.

The state of California has seen multiple oil spills starting from a devastating oil well blowout in Santa Barbara in 1969 to Amplify Energy's offshore spill in 2021 that required it to pay $50 million in settlements.

Last year, the state sued major oil companies accusing them of playing down the risks posed by fossil fuels, after dozens of lawsuits were filed in previous years against the industry across the U.S.

(Reporting by Harshit Verma and Sherin Elizabeth Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

((Harshit.Verma@thomsonreuters.com;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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