Chavez brushes off Exxon court threats

Jan. 9, 2012 at 9:08 AM
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CARACAS, Venezuela, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. supermajor Exxon Mobil is asking far too much from the Venezuelan government in a case involving assets in the country, the Venezuelan president said.

The International Chamber of Commerce last 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, and Exxon said it would take the matter up with the World Bank next month.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, in a state address, said his country wouldn't take any action made by the bank's International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes seriously.

"We won't recognize any decisions from the ICSID," he was quoted by the Bloomberg News agency as saying. "(Exxon is) seeking the impossible, that we pay what we will never pay."

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.

Exxon acquired the assets in question from Mobil in 1999.

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