Colombian farmers sue BP in the UK over pipeline's alleged impact on environment & livelihoods

Oil pipeline in Colombia

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16 October 2014

Colombian Farmers Take BP To UK Court Over Oil Pipeline

Author: Brianna Lee, International Business Times

A group of Colombian farmers this week began legal proceedings against…BP over allegations that an oil pipeline caused serious damage to their land and crops. The case is one of the largest international environmental lawsuits of its kind and marks the first time BP will face a U.K. court for its actions overseas…It’s rare to see a case like this litigated in the U.K., analysts say. “The avenues for extraterritorial claims for victims of alleged human rights abuses have been shrinking, both in Europe and in North America,” said Mauricio Lazala, deputy director of the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, a London-based nonprofit organization that monitors human rights in businesses around the world.

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13 October 2014

BP faces High Court trial for environmental damage in Colombia

Author: Leigh Day

One of the largest environmental legal cases in UK legal history begins in London on Wednesday 15th October 2014 as Colombian farmers bring their legal fight against BP to the High Court. The…trial will be the first time BP have faced the UK Courts over their business actions overseas and the first time compensation for environmental damage to privately owned land, caused by a UK oil company, has been litigated in…UK courts. A…judge will be asked to assess whether BP breached agreements with Colombian farmers and were negligent in causing environmental damage to their farmlands due to the construction of the OCENSA oil pipeline across their private properties in the mid 1990s. Lawyers for the 73 mostly subsistence farmers…will argue that the British company Equion Energia…negligently managed the construction of the OCENSA oil pipeline causing serious damage to their land…Some farmers say sedimentation of wells meant they did not have a source of drinking water for some time...The claims will be argued with reference to contractual and extra contractual liability under Colombian law...


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11 October 2014

Colombian farmers sue BP over oil pipeline’s alleged impact

Author: Jane Croft, Financial Times (UK)

BP is being sued for environmental damage that Colombian farmers allege the oil group caused to their land by building a pipeline. The case, which opens at the High Court this week, is being brought by 73 peasant farmers known as “campesinos”, who are seeking about £18m in compensation from the oil group. They claim that the British company Equion Energia (formerly BP Exploration (Colombia) Limited) negligently managed the construction of the Ocensa oil pipeline in Colombia during the mid-1990s – causing serious damage to their land…The trial is likely to be one of the largest environmental legal cases in recent years…The farmers…allege that the construction of the pipeline caused severe soil erosion, reduced vegetation coverage and blocked up or reduced vital water sources, thereby significantly reducing the productivity of their farms…BP said in a statement it was confident in its legal position and was defending the case vigorously. “The Ocensa pipeline project in Colombia involved significant steps being taken at the time of construction to engage with local communities, make appropriate compensation payments and ensure that the land the pipeline traversed suffered no material damage,” it said...[Also refers to Shell] 

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