Oil company Exxon to receive less than 10% of the $10bn it was seeking from the Venezuelan government when its assets were nationalised
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 1 January 2012 19.50 GMT
Exxon Mobil will receive less than 10% of the $10bn (£6.4bn) in compensation it was seeking from the Venezuelan government when its assets were nationalised under President Hugo Chávez.
An international arbitration panel has decided to award the world’s largest publicly owned oil company just under $908m for the Cerro Negro project, located in the Orinoco heavy oil belt, which Chávez nationalised along with three other projects in the same area.
The socialist leader upset a number of multinationals by nationalising assets in order to increase state spending on anti-poverty initiatives. He still faces more than a dozen other claims from groups including the US oil producer ConocoPhillips and Swiss cement maker Holcim.
Exxon Mobil filed its claim with the International Chamber of Commerce in 2007, having left Venezuela in protest at a government decree that the state oil monopoly Petróleos de Venezuela would have the majority stake in joint ventures with foreign partners. Chevron, the second-largest US oil company, decided to accept majority state ownership and remained in the country.
An Exxon spokesman said on Sunday that the ruling confirmed Petróleos de Venezuela “does have a contractual liability to Exxon Mobil”.
Venezuela’s oil minister, Rafael Ramírez, said last year that his government planned to pay no more than a total of $2.5bn in its arbitration cases with Exxon and ConocoPhillips.