Venezuela and Exxon: Economic War

on February 13 2008 6:52 PM

Venezuela said that the U.S was supporting Exxon Mobil's lawsuit to freeze its state-controlled oil revenue in an effort to destabilize the country.

OPEC-member Venezuela halted crude sales to Exxon Mobil after the top U.S. oil company launched litigation freezing $12 billion in Venezuelan assets as part of an effort to secure compensation for a nationalized oil project.

It's another step in the economic war against our nation, Energy and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said today in a televised address from Jose, Venezuela.

Ramirez spoke as arguments began in U.S. District Court in New York over Exxon's freeze on $315 million from a joint bank account. Ramirez also raised the possibility that Venezuela may not recognize the results of international arbitration.

Sovereign state decisions are the sole responsibility of the people and can't be questioned by any multinational company nor any international court,'' Ramirez said.

Exxon's $40.6 billion profit last year was the highest ever for a U.S. publicly traded company. Venezuela has 100 billion barrels of proved reserves and is working to certify another 200 billion barrels to show it has the most reserves in the world.

Venezuela's action is unlikely to affect Exxon or oil markets, analysts said.

It's more or less political rhetoric, Ruchir Kadakia, an international oil analyst at Cambridge Energy Research Associates, told reporters yesterday in Houston. It'll have very little commercial impact on Exxon Mobil.

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