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Posted On: Apr. 20, 1997 12:00 AM CST

EL SEGUNDO, Calif.-Oil and gas company Unocal has tentatively agreed to pay $80 million to settle lawsuits by more than 6,000 area residents who say they were made ill by an odorless chemical compound that leaked from

Unocal's Rodeo, Calif., refinery over a 16-day period in 1994.

"We do carry insurance. We plan to evaluate our policy to determine if coverage is available," said a spokesman for the El Segundo, Calif.-based company. The spokesman would not provide additional details.

The settlement still must receive court approval.

In 1995, Unocal agreed to pay $3 million in civil and criminal fines in connection with the leak at the plant, which the company no longer operates.