A consortium of three oil companies led by ExxonMobil has been ordered to pay Chad $74bn in fines after a court in the African country found the oil firms had not met their tax obligations, Bloomberg reports.
The fines are equivalent to almost seven times Chad’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The oil and gas consortium, which also included Malaysia’s Petronas and Chevron, operates a 1,000-km-long pipeline carrying crude from Chad to a marine terminal in Cameroon for export. Chevron sold its stake in the country in 2014.
Chad’s ministry of finance lodged a complaint against the companies, which the court also ordered to pay $814m in royalty fees.
“We disagree with the Chadian court’s ruling and are evaluating next steps,” an Exxon Mobil spokesman told Bloomberg.
Chad’s oil production reached 120,000 barrels per day in 2015. However, volatility in oil prices has reduced Chad’s GDP growth rate from 6.9% in 2014 to 2.6% in 2015, according to World Bank data.