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Hawaii Settles Lawsuit with Big Oil

HONOLULU -- Hawaii settled its $2 billion antitrust lawsuit against five oil companies accused of fixing Hawaii's gas prices for years, but financial details had yet to be worked out, a federal mediator said.

The state's settlement with oil giants Chevron Corp.., Shell Oil Co., Texaco Inc., Unocal Corp. and Tosco Corp. averts a trial that could have cost the companies millions in legal fees and penalties. Chevron and Texaco merged last year to form ChevronTexaco.

The agreement was reached after what both parties called two days of "intense" negotiations. The financial portion of the settlement being drawn up will likely involve some payment by the oil companies to the state.

The agreement, which will be made public in the next couple of weeks, ends a four-year battle between the state and the oil companies, according to Reuters.

The state filed the lawsuit in 1998, accusing divisions of the five companies of fixing gas prices and allocating market share among themselves as early as 1987. BHP Hawaii and Tesoro, named in the original suit, were dismissed from the case as part of a $15 million settlement in November 1999.
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