Caracas, Feb 17 (IANS/EFE) Venezuela has paid US oil giant ExxonMobil $250 million in compensation for the 2007 nationalization of crude assets.
This brings an end to a “legal situation established in past decades” that gave international arbitration courts jurisdiction over sovereign decisions, Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said, referring to the compensation award handed down by the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce.
During a televised Cabinet meeting, the minister noted that the US multinational had been seeking $12 billion in compensation for the seizure of the Cerro Negro heavy-crude project in the vast Orinoco oil belt.
“As a result of our arguments … and the reality that the Venezuelan government has never abused its position of power”, we managed to have the compensation award reduced to $250 million, Ramirez, who is also president of Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA, said.
Last month, President Hugo Chavez ordered Venezuela’s withdrawal from the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, which is also due to rule on the Exxon case.