A gasolinelike smell hangs in the sweltering jungle air. The mess is a remnant of oil drilling in…in northeastern Ecuador where Texaco Inc. and…PetroEcuador have pumped billions of barrels of crude from the ground during the past 40 years…. About 230,000 people live in Ecuador’s northeastern rain forest side by side with oil wells and pools of drilling waste…. And depending on how an Ecuadorean judge rules in a lawsuit over the pollution, [this] may become the costliest corporate ecological catastrophe in world history. If the judge follows the recommendation of a court- appointed panel of experts, he could order Chevron Corp., which now owns Texaco, to pay as much as $27 billion in damages.