Venezuela said Monday an international arbitration panel had ordered it to pay $907 million to US oil giant ExxonMobil for nationalizing its assets, but that it would pay just $255 million after deducting certain charges.
The award amount by the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce panel was far below the $12 billion sought by the oil titan for nationalization of key oil fields in the Orinoco basin that included two ExxonMobil operations.
A statement by the state-owned oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) said the government would pay $255 million to the US firm within 60 days to settle the dispute.
The statement hailed what it called a “successful defense” against the ExxonMobil claims and said the US giant had been seeking an “exorbitant” sum for compensation.
It noted that ExxonMobil was pressing arbitration before a World Bank panel and said Venezuela “will take all necessary steps to defend itself” in the company pursues the case.
It said ExxonMobil’s claims were “completely exaggerated and defied logic.”
From the $907 million, Venezuela plans to deduct a number of charges including $191 million for the impact of ExxonMobil’s withdrawal on the state’s bonds, $300 million for the freezing of PDVSA assets in the United States and $160 million in counter-claims by Venezuela.
The biggest US oil firm launched a series of legal challenges after the leftist government of President Hugo Chavez moved to nationalize foreign oil firms’ assets.
In June 2006, Venezuela passed a law forcing foreign oil companies to give PDVSA at least a 60 percent share in their operations at oil fields in the Orinoco basin.
Some companies accepted compensation for the move, but ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips disputed it.