If you own shares in our second-biggest domestic integrated oil company, Chevron (NYSE:CVX), or have been pondering doing so, you're likely well aware that Chevron is involved in a lawsuit in Ecuador that threatens to cost it as much as a whopping $27 billion in fines and other charges. That prospect may well be a tad disconcerting for you.

But sleep well. It seems the company has been the victim of some serious snookering. Indeed, Chevron has found the challenges in Ecuador even more formidable than those that Hugo Chavez presented to members of Big Oil a couple of years ago in Venezuela. You'll recall that that group included the likes of ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), Total (NYSE:TOT), and Eni (NYSE:E). All were removed from operating positions during Hugo's nationalization rampage.

As you know, Chevron is being taken to task by Ecuador and Petroecuador, its state-owned oil company. The locals claim that Texaco made an environmental mess while drilling in the country, long before it was bought by Chevron. Central to the contention is a detailed report prepared by an "independent" engineer. It describes Texaco's alleged transgressions, along with maintaining that Chevron be severely fined.

None of this should precipitate the conclusion that, because the report was produced in Ecuador, there's inherent deceit involved. Or at least, that was the case until this week, when Chevron came forth with information that Richard Cabrera, the report's "independent" author, "is the majority owner of an oilfield remediation company that stands to gain financially from a judgment against Chevron." This serious conflict of interest had been hidden by Cabrera throughout the three-year course of the litigation.

Unless Chevron is having pipe dreams -- which seems unlikely -- Cabrera's report is stuffed with fabrications and other forms of dishonesty. Numerous specifics are detailed in a press release distributed by Chevron earlier in the week. Indeed, the release itself is an entertaining read.

Many in the Big Oil contingent, Shell (NYSE:RDS-A) and BP (NYSE:BP) in Russia to name just a couple, have occasionally found life difficult in foreign countries. But Chevron's Ecuadorian travails seem particularly egregious. At the very least, however, this latest act should provide investors with comfort that this solid company can go on finding oil and gas worldwide, with one major concern pretty much put to bed.  

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Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies named above. He does welcome your questions, comments, and Valentine Cards. The Fool has a lovable disclosure policy.