Chavez laughs off Exxon's claims

Jan. 5, 2012 at 8:10 AM
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CARACAS, Venezuela, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Exxon Mobil should take heed of a decision by an international panel to award about 10 percent of its demands from Caracas, the Venezuelan president said.

The International Chamber of Commerce this week ordered Venezuela's state-controlled oil producer Petroleos de Venezuela to pay Exxon about $747 million for the 2007 seizure of oil wells in the country. That's only around 10 percent of what the company wanted, however.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Exxon was "crazy" for seeking more than $7 billion from the government, Bloomberg News reports.

The Venezuelan government in 2007 ordered international oil companies to transform their production agreements into ones that made them minority shareholders with PDVSA in the country's oil-rich Orinoco Belt.

Chavez described Exxon Mobil as "arrogant" and said the international panel sent Exxon a message by awarding only a small percentage of what it wanted.

"You can make your own conclusions," he was quoted as saying.

Exxon said the matter isn't yet over. Arguments are expected before the World Bank by Exxon and the Venezuelan government next month.

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