Friday, October 17, 2014
Earlier this week, a group of farmers from Columbia filed suit in the United Kingdom against Equion Energia (a UK company formerly known as BP Exploration Columbia) alleging that BP's negligence in building the Ocensa oil pipeline in the 1990s severely reduced the productivity of their land due to environmental damage. The alleged damage includes severe soil erosion, reduced vegetation coverage and areas for pasture, as well as blocked or damaged water resources. Before construction began, BP entered into contracts with the farmers to allow BP to lay the oil pipeline on their land. However, the farmers claim they did not fully understand the contracts and have not been adequately compensated for the damage. The farmers are seeking US $29 million in compensation. According to The Guardian, the trial will be the first time BP has had to defend its actions overseas in a UK court and the first time compensation for environmental damage to privately owned land, caused by a UK oil company, has been litigated in the UK.