A lawyer for ExxonMobil has said the company is holding talks with the government of Chad concerning a $75 billion fine tied to a royalty payment dispute.

Thomas Dingamgoto, a lawyer for Exxon, told Bloomberg on Tuesday that the company is holding talks with Chad’s government about the record-breaking fine.

Dingamgoto told Bloomberg that an appeals court hearing has been delayed as the company and country’s government discuss the matter.

A Chadian court ordered an Exxon led consortium to pay a $75 billion (44 trillion CFA francs) penalty for alleged missing royalty payments in October.

Malaysia’s Petronas and Chad’s Société des Hydrocarbures du Tchad (SHT) are the other two members of the consortium.

According to court documents seen by Reuters, the court ruled that the consortium owes Chad’s government just over $822 million in royalties.

The court did not explain why it imposed such a large penalty on the consortium.

The penalty is nearly seven times larger than Chad’s annual gross domestic product and over three times larger than the Deepwater Horizon settlement.

An Exxon spokesperson said when the ruling was announced that the dispute centers around “commitments made by the government to the consortium, not the government’s ability to impose taxes.”

Dingamgoto told Bloomberg that Chad believes the consortium should pay a 2 percent royalty fee on crude exports.

However, Exxon has said it signed a convention with the country’s government in 2009 that established a 0.2 percent royalty rate.


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