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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on global corporations.

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Chevron Corporation
Founded 1930s
Headquarters United States Colombia
Divisions Chevron Colombia
Website http://www.chevron.com & http://chevron.com/countries/colombia/

Chevron Corporation (formerly ChevronTexaco) is based in San Ramon, California and is the second largest U.S. oil company (behind Exxon Mobil). It expanded dramatically in 2001 with the acquisition of Texaco. In 2005, Chevron acquired Unocal. Chevron has interests in chemicals, pipelines, and power production businesses. It owns or has stakes in over 25,000 gas stations which operate under the brands Chevron, Texaco, and Caltex. In 2006, sales were $210 billion with profits of $17.1 billion. [1]

Support for the American Legislative Exchange Council

Chevron was a "Director" level sponsor of 2011 American Legislative Exchange Council Annual Conference, which in 2010, equated to $10,000.[2] Chevron was also a sponsor of the Louisiana Welcome Reception at the 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting.[3]

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.


Chevron exiting coal mining industry

It was announced on January 28, 2011 that Chevron would get out of the coal mining industry by the end of 2011. The decision came after the company determined that new coal technologies were developing too slowly to make staying in the industry a good strategy, Chevron Mining Inc. spokeswoman Margaret Lejuste said.[4]

On March 11, 2011, Walter Energy said it had agreed to buy the North River coal mine in Fayette County from Chevron Corp. Walter also said it had leased about 75 million tons of Blue Creek coking coal reserves in Tuscaloosa County from a subsidiary of Chevron. Royalty rates are in line with existing agreements, Walter said.[5]

Award

"June 24, 2009 - Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) will be recognized this evening by the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GBC) for its longstanding commitment to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria around the world. Chevron will receive the GBC's prestigious Richard C. Holbrooke Award for Business Leadership in recognition of the company's global public health programs...

"Chevron also partnered with North Star Foundation to establish an HIV/AIDS Roadside Wellness Center at the heavily trafficked Oshoek border post between Swaziland and South Africa. In 2008, the center provided HIV/AIDS prevention education, distributed condoms, and offered basic medical tests and services to 4,500 drivers and the surrounding community." [6]

Political contributions and lobbying

Chevron is one of the largest oil company contributors to both Republican and Democratic candidates for Congress. These contributions total $481,715 to the 110th US Congress (as of the third quarter), the largest of which has been to Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) for $23,300. Rep. Blunt, for his part, has consistently voted with the interests of the fossil fuel industry on energy, war and climate bills.[7]

Contributions like this from fossil fuel companies to members of Congress are often seen as a political barrier to pursuing clean energy.

More information on oil industry contributions to Congress can be found at FollowtheOilMoney.org, created by the nonpartisan, nonprofit organization Oil Change International.

The Chevron political action committee (PAC) gave $403,350 to federal candidates in the 05/06 election cycle - 15% to Democrats, 85% to Republicans. [8]

The company spent $7,480,000 for lobbying in 2006. Of this total, $1,174,000 was to outside lobbying firms. Chevron has in-house lobbyists also. [9]

Richmond, CA Defeats Chevron's Attempt to Hijack City Council Elections

Diagram of Chevron's Campaign Spending
Richmond Confidential

Chevron spent more than $3 million in an attempt to influence city elections in Richmond, CA in 2014.[10] A major oil refinery operated by Chevron in Richmond caught fire in 2012, causing thousands of residents to seek medical care after smoke and fumes from the incident drifted over the city.[11] Afterwards, the city filed a lawsuit against Chevron in an attempt to hold the company accountable for ongoing problems at the refinery. "It's [not about the money, it's] wanting to have some assurance that Chevron has taken the lessons learned to heart and that they have changed their culture of safety," then-city council member Tom Butt said at the time.[12]

Through different independent expenditure groups, the energy behemoth launched an ad blitz targeting progressive candidates, including billboards, TV, radio and even talking door literature. Despite being outspent 20-to-1, the three Green Party and Democrat candidates targeted in Chevron's smear campaigns -- Jovanka Beckles, Eduardo Martinez, and outgoing mayor Gayle McLaughlin -- were all elected to City Council. In a further rejection of Chevron's agenda, Tom Butt, who as a council member had taken a hard line against the company, was elected mayor.[12]

As uncovered by Harriet Rowan at Richmond Confidential, Chevron funneled its contributions to a trio of campaign committees with similar names, making it a challenge to track the funds.[13]

GW Bush ties to Chevron lobbyist

In July 2005 the Washington Post reported that Wayne L. Berman, "a principal lobbyist for Chevron, is a Bush 'Ranger,' having raised at least $200,000 for the president's campaign. His wife, Lea, is the White House social secretary."[14]

Public relations

Corporate social responsibility

In November 2008, Chevron hired the PR firm Waggener Edstrom, as its "communications partner for Chevron Corporation's global community engagement and corporate social responsibility initiatives." The firm "will use a combination of media, including social networks and digital strategies, to help connect with the company's stakeholders. The effort will involve local engagement in the San Francisco Bay Area and within the state of California as well as targeted markets in Asia and Africa," according to The Holmes Report. [15]

The same month it was revealed that Chevron's had dropped its previous overall PR firm, Cohn & Wolfe, preferring instead a pitch from Ogilvy PR for what PR Week described as its "downstream business and marketing communications."[16] Gustavo Santoyo, the global PR manager for Chevron's downstream business, told PR Week that the account includes promoting the refining, manufacturing, trading and transport businesses and the Chevron, Texaco, and Caltex retail brands in traditional and new media. "One key platform for our messaging will include safety," he said. Ogilvy PR's San Francisco office will head the account but with support from its global network of offices.

Spin on Wikipedia

On June 22, 2006, a computer at ChevronTexaco deleted the entire article on "Biodiesel" on Wikipedia. The edit was made anonymously but was picked up by the WikiScanner tool.[17]

Chevron v. CBS and 60 Minutes

Chevron hired Gene Randall, a former CNN correspondent, to tell their side of the story and advocate their case in a fake documentary aired on the internet a few days before a "60 Minutes" program denouncing Texaco, a Chevron subsidiary accused of pollution in Ecuador [18]. At stake : a $27 bn lawsuit against Texaco [19].

See below about the pollution issue in Ecuador.

Directors

Accessed November 2009: [20]

  • David J. O'Reilly - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
  • John S. Watson - Vice Chairman of the Board
  • Samuel H. Armacost - Chairman of SRI International
  • Linnet F. Deily - Former U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Ambassador to the WTO
  • Robert E. Denham - Partner of Munger, Tolles & Olson, LLP
  • Robert J. Eaton - Retired Chairman of the Board of Management of DaimlerChrysler AG
  • Enrique Hernandez, Jr. - President and Chief Executive Officer of Inter-Con Security Systems, Inc.
  • Franklyn G. Jenifer - President Emeritus of The University of Texas at Dallas
  • Sam Nunn - Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative; former U.S. Senator from Georgia
  • Donald B. Rice - President and Chief Executive Officer of Agensys, Inc.
  • Kevin W. Sharer - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Amgen, Inc.
  • Charles R. Shoemate - Retired Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bestfoods
  • Ronald D. Sugar - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Northrop Grumman Corp.
  • Carl Ware - Former Senior Adviser to the Chief Executive Officer of The Coca-Cola Co.

Personnel

Key executives and 2006 pay: [21]          Options
exercised
Dave J. O'Reilly, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer    $5,120,000    $9,320,000
Stephen J. Crowe, Chief Financial Officer    $1,300,000    $1,090,000
John S. Watson, President of Chevron International Exploration & Production    $1,690,000    $3,980,000
George L. Kirkland, Executive Vice President    $1,680,000    $4,020,000

Selected members of the Board of Directors: [22]

Former members of the Board of Directors:

In February 2009, Chevron announced that John S. Watson was the company's new vice-chair, replacing Peter J. Robertson, who was retiring. Charles A. James was also named Chevron's new executive vice president. [23]

Subsidiaries / affiliates

Corporate accountability

San Francisco Board of Supervisors to Vote on Resolution Condemning Chevron’s Abuses Worldwide: Resolution Criticizes Chevron’s Profiteering in Iraq, Nigeria Slayings and Ecuador Disaster
[24]

Labor

Human Rights

In September 2008, in an "unusual move," Chevron began approaching "the media to offer a briefing" on a civil trial, "in which it faces charges of wrongful death, civil conspiracy, torture and negligence." The case, Bowoto versus Chevron, was brought by Nigerian villagers and stems from a 1998 incident where the Nigerian military shot at protesters on one of Chevron's offshore platforms. The soldiers were paid by Chevron and flown to the platform in Chevron helicopters, according to EarthRights International. A U.S. district court judge concluded that Chevron personnel "were directly involved" in and approved of the attack. Chevron denies the charges, saying the protesters "took Chevron workers hostage and attacked law enforcement when it arrived." Chevron hired Singer Associates, the San Francisco PR firm that defended the city zoo after one of its tigers escaped its enclosure and killed one person. [25]

Chevron’s CEO slams critics at Meeting
Chevron’s CEO speaks out against the accusations against Chevron at the annual shareholder meeting held at their San Ramon headquarters. [1]

Chevron’s Victims from Burma, Ecuador and Nigeria Confront CEO David O’Reilly at Shareholder Meeting. May 28, 2008.
Community representatives from Burma, Ecuador and Nigeria participated in the shareholder meeting as proxy shareholders and called on Chevron CEO to “stop hiding behind lawyers and PR misinformation and to recognize and rectify the suffering the company has caused.”[2]

Chevron Seen Settling Case on Iraq Oil
Chevron to acknowledge that it should have known kickbacks were being paid to Saddam Hussein on oil it brought back from Iraq. The admission is part of the settlement being negotiated with the U.S. prosecutors and includes fines totalling between $25 and $30 million. [26]

Luisa Gonzalez et al. v. Texaco, Inc., Texaco Petroleum Company Inc., Chevron Corporation
Lawsuit brought by several Ecuadorian plaintiffs and their families against Texaco and Chevron for problems brought about by water dumping.[3]

Chevron’s Human Rights Problems Span Three Continents
Chevron’s human rights liabilities are both financial and reputational and Chevron is now the target of multiple grass roots campaigns. Chevron lacks an official human rights policy and that is why there could be so many issues of human rights violations.[4]

Ecuador – Oil Rights or Human Rights?
This article describes the effect of Chevron on different areas of Ecuador. [5]

Chevron’s Human Rights Statement, adopted in 2006, reaffirms their long-standing support for universal human rights.
[6] & [7]

Learn more and take action: Chevron (CVX) in Nigeria: Claiming Rights and Resources
This article describes Chevron’s impact on a February 2005 assault on protesters by Nigerian soldiers and Chevron-hired security guards. [8]

Human Rights Principles for Oil and Mining Companies Welcomed: U.S., U.K. Voluntary Principles
Chevron along with other oil companies, have become part of the Voluntary Principles on security and human rights in oil and mining industries.[9]

Oil Companies Complicit in Nigerian Abuses: Rights Group Urges Oil Firms to Help Prevent Niger Delta Crackdown
Nigerian people are killed in a serious incident where soldiers using Chevron helicopters and boats attacked villagers in two small communities. Four Nigerian Plaintiffs and their families are suing Chevron in San Francisco federal court, and the judge is adding torture and cruel treatment claims. [10]

Human Rights Violations in Nigeria’s Oil Production Region (Feb. 23, 1999)
Discusses the Nigerian incident in which Chevron boats and a helicopter attacked a small village. [11] & [12]

Environment

Ecuador

Chevron's Rainforest Chernobyl: In Ecuador, Chevron Responsible For Creating Toxic Contamination 30 Times Larger Than The Exxon Valdez
Experts believe that Chevron’s actions could be the worst environmental disaster other than Chernobyl. Chevron intentionally discharged into Ecuador’s rainforest more than 30 times the amount of oil spilled in the Exxon Valdez disaster.

[27] Continuous contamination and oil spills are a big problem running along the oil pipelines in Ecuador.

Credit: Thea Riofrancos

In Ecuador's Amazon rainforest, a coalition of residents and indigenous nationalities are suing US-based oil company Chevron-Texaco. They say that 30 years of the company's oil exploitation has resulted in severe environmental and health damages in the region, including 428 cancer deaths. A recent report issued by a court expert determined that Chevron might have to pay up to $16 billion in damages.[28] (See also Chevron Plays 'Victim' To Deflect Media Coverage of Goldman Award for Ecuadorian Activists).

See above (PR section) : Chevron hired a former CNN correspondant to make a fake documentary mirroring a CBS 60 Minutes documentary to be aired soon afterwards.

Tar Sand Production, Transporting, Refining

Chevron has a 20% interest in the Athabasca Oil Sands Project (AOSP)[13], begun in 2002, is a joint venture between Chevron Canada, Shell Canada (60%) and Marathon Oil Canada (20%) “currently one of the largest construction projects on the planet” according to its website. At full production, the project yields 155,000 barrels of bitumen per day. To date, the Athabasca Oil Sands Project has recovered more than 175 million barrels of bitumen, according to Chevron’s website.[14]

At AOSP, the first phase of an expansion project, with an estimated total project cost of $10.2 billion, is being designed to upgrade an additional 100,000 barrels of bitumen into synthetic crude oil per day. The expansion would increase total AOSP design capacity to more than 255,000 barrels of bitumen per day in 2010. Preliminary work is under way to determine the feasibility of additional expansion projects.[15]

Chevron also has a 60% interest in the Ells River Oil Sands Project, totaling 75,520 acres “of oil bearing sands with an estimated 7.5 billion barrels of oil in place,” a 28% interest in the [16]

Much of this increased production is designed to feed into a network of long-lived infrastructure that will effectively lock-in North American oil dependency for decades to come. Thousands of miles of new trans-continental pipelines[17] and more than twenty newly expanded oil refineries [18] are being planned to bring growing supplies of tar sands crude to the US market. Aside from increasing global warming pollution, the dirtier crude oils produced from tar sands also require more intensive refining. Since 2007, Chevron has won local battles to expand its refineries in Richmond, CA [19] and El Segundo, CA[20] to convert the heavy crude oils produced in the tar sands to gasoline and other consumer and commercial products.

Despite rising production costs and plummeting oil prices, Chevron remains committed to increasing tar sands production. Responding to shareholder complaints about these risky bets, Chevron said in its 2008 Proxy Solicitation that it “has observed comprehensive procedures to better assess, understand and minimize the environmental impacts of its operations in various areas around the globe, including in Athabasca and Ells River” and its “continued efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and increase energy efficiency.” [21] However, despite 25% of shareholders voting in support of a resolution at Chevron in 2008 asking for increased disclosure on the company’s tar sands projects, the company hasn’t agreed to improve its reporting[22]. This year, Chevron was successful in excluding the resolution from its proxy statement [23], reducing transparency on the issue even more.

The company has also initiated a multi-million dollar public relations campaign to promote its environmentally responsible image.[24]

Refineries

Consumer Protection and Product Safety

Anti-Trust and Tax Practices

Social Responsibility Initiatives

Chevron is an active community member in Colombia. They sponsor several community programs and a number of projects launched in partnership with community organizations, national and local governments. Among these is a project to provide water wells for the local Wayuu tribe. More than 100,000 indigenous people, who had no access to potable water prior to the wells, now have safe, clean drinking water in their community. Another project is the access to basic education for displaced children. Chevron also supports the Department Library of La Guajira which now has more than 5,000 volumes available to the community.

Chevron also contributes to Operation Smile, a well-known nonprofit organization where doctors perform cleft-palate surgery on children who would otherwise go without. With their partners, Chevron also supports vocational training centers for adults and day care centers. In 2007, Chevron worked with the foundation “A Roof for my country” building emergency homes for the very underprivileged. [25]

Chevron ad spoofed by Yes Men and RAN

On October 18, 2010, Chevron announced it would soon be releasing a new ad campaign called “We agree.” The ads seek to address critics of energy companies by affirming statements like “Oil companies should support the communities they’re part of” and “Oil companies should put their profits to good use.” A section of the Chevron Web site is also devoted to the campaign, and Chevron as going to send the website and ads to prominent news organizations.[29]

In response, the Yes Men and Rainforest Action Network created a faux Chevron website made to look like the We Agree campaign but actually highlighting the corporation's neglect of its human rights and environmental abuses. The website, Chevron-We Agree has statements like, "We agree - corporations should clean up their mess," reading "For decades, oil companies like ours have worked in disadvantaged areas, influencing policy in order to do there what we can't do at home. It's time this changed. People in Ecuador, Nigeria, the Gulf of Mexico, Richmond, and elsewhere have a right to a clean and healthy environment too." At least one news outlet, the Web site of Fast Company magazine, was fooled by the prank. The Yes Men is known for using these tactics to highlight corporations they see as engaged in greenwashing or faux corporate social responsibility.[29]

Interest in converting coal to synthetic petroleum

According to the West Virginia Coal Association (WVCA), Chevron's acquisition of Gulf Oil might have been due, in part, to an extensive body of coal-to-liquids developed by Gulf Oil: "We have documented Chevron's coincident interest in Coal liquefaction technology, suggesting that such coincident interest might have been a motivating factor in their acquisition of Gulf." According to the WCA: "we submit herein further evidence of just how advanced the technology for converting Coal into liquid fuels actually is, through another United States Patent issued to Chevron, which, as with other, similar technologies we have reported, doesn't disclose how liquid hydrocarbons are made from Coal, but, instead, reveals how such Coal-derived liquids, once they are produced, can be more efficiently refined to serve as direct replacements for the products we now derive from petroleum."[30]

Examining Chevron's patent (No. 4097364), WVCA argues that the patent contains language showing the process for making "synthetic petroleum," or synfuel, relies on coal: "So, in order to make 'synthetic hydrocarbons' that are 'particularly useful as transportation fuels', out of 'compounds produced in the Fischer-Tropsch reaction', as has been described, for instance, 'in a series of four articles by J. C. Hoogendoorn and J. M. Solomon, "Sasol: World's Largest Oil-From-Coal Plant,"' which appeared, half a century ago, in 'British Chemical Engineering, May, June, July and August, 1957', all we need do is process such 'high-boiling hydrocarbons' obtained from Coal 'to lower-boiling hydrocarbons in the presence of water'."[30]

Contact information

6001 Bollinger Canyon Road
San Ramon, CA 94583, U.S.A.
Phone: (925) 842-1000
Fax: (925) 842-3530
Email: comment AT chevron.com
Web: http://www.chevron.com

Chevron Colombia
Calle 100, #7A-81
Bogota, Colombia
Tel: +57-1-639-4444

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. Chevron Profile, Hoovers, accessed October 2007.
  2. [American Legislative Exchange Council, 2011 Conference Sponsors, conference brochure on file with CMD, August 11, 2011]
  3. [American Legislative Exchange Council, 2011 Conference Receptions, conference brochure on file with CMD, August 11, 2011]
  4. "Chevron exiting coal mining" January 28, 2011.
  5. "Walter Energy buying Fayette County coal mine from Chevron Corp." March 11, 2011.
  6. Chevron Receives Global Business Coalition's Leadership Award for Business Excellence, Chevron, accessed November 3, 2009.
  7. "House Members of the 110th (2007-2008) Congress: Roy Blunt", Oil Change International, accessed November 2008.
  8. 2006 PAC Summary Data, Open Secrets, accessed October 2007.
  9. Chevron Corp lobbying expenses, Open Secrets, accessed October 2007.
  10. Harriet Rowan, "Will Chevron’s $3 Million Bid for Richmond Succeed?," Richmond Confidential, November 4, 2014. Accessed November 12, 2014.
  11. Paul Elias, "Thousands file claims after Chevron refinery fire," Associated Press, USA Today, August 11, 2012. Accessed November 12, 2014.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Mary Bottari and Jonas Persson, "Richmond Voters Beat Chevron Corporate Coup d' Etat," Center for Media and Democracy, PR Watch, November 7, 2014. Accessed November 12, 2014.
  13. Harriet Rowan, "$3 million in Chevron’s Moving Forward war chest," Richmond Confidential, October 10, 2014. Accessed November 12, 2014.
  14. Jonathan Weisman, "Bush Adviser Helped Law Firm Land Job Lobbying for CNOOC", Washington Post, July 12, 2005; Page D01.
  15. "Waggener Edstrom to Lead Chevron Citizenship Communications," The Holmes Report (sub req'd), November 16, 2008.
  16. Aarti Shah, "Chevron taps Ogilvy PR for downstream business", PR Week, November 24, 2008.
  17. "Biodisel: Revision as of 20:39, 22 June 2006", Wikipedia, accessed November 2008.
  18. "Amazon Crude" (Scott Pelley, CBS 20050503)
  19. "[When Chevron Hires Ex-Reporter to Investigate Pollution, Chevron Looks Good]" (Brian Stelter, New York Times 20090511)
  20. Directors, Chevron, accessed November 3, 2009.
  21. Chevron Key Executives, Yahoo Finance, accessed October 2007.
  22. Chevron Board of Directors, Chevron, accessed October 2007.
  23. Albert C. Pacciorini, "Chevron announces executive changes," San Francisco Business Times, February 27, 2009.
  24. "San Francisco Board of Supervisors to Vote on Resolution Condemning Chevron's Abuses Worldwide", Amazon Defense Coalition, June 4, 2008.
  25. Mavis Scanlon, "Chevron plays offense in wrongful death suit," East Bay Business California, sub req'd), August 29, 2008.
  26. Claudio Gatti & Jad Mouawad, “Chevron Seen Settling Case on Iraq Oil”, Amazon Defense Coalition, January, 2007.
  27. “Chevron’s Rainforest Chernobyl”, Amazon Defense Coalition, January, 2007.
  28. "Rainforest Coalition Radio Program" Accessed September 2008.
  29. 29.0 29.1 Stuart Elliott, "Pranksters Lampoon Chevron Ad Campaign" NY Times, Oct. 18, 2010.
  30. 30.0 30.1 "Chevron Upgrades Coal Liquids with Water" WVCA, September 6, 2010.

External resources

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