Since 2007, ExxonMobil and the Venezuelan government have been at odds over the takeover of the company's Cerro Negro venture in the Orinoco oil belt located to the north of the South American Country.
The Venezuelan government, since Chavez took office in the late 1990s, has been nationalizing its oil industry since 2006. A year later, Chavez's government demanded foreign oil companies in the Orinoco region give the state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. the majority shares of the oil fields, according to the World Energy Law and Business Journal, a peer reviewed record-keeping journal focused on the international oil and natural gas industry.
ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips refused the state's compensation package at the time, demanding more than what the state was willing to pay. In September of that year, ExxonMobil sought arbitration from the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes because negotiations were non-productive, said the business journal.
The Venezuelan government offered ExxonMobil $750 million - the book value of the company's holdings in the country - in compensation for its assets. The company first demanded $20 billion, then dropped the price to $12 billion and then dropped it again to $6 billion in September of 2011, reported Bloomberg.
The government claimed the company's offers were excessive, said AP.
Now Venezuela appears ready to meet with ExxonMobil. Chavez on Wednesday announced his government is willing to enter into a new round of negotiations with the U.S. oil major, reported the Associated Press.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Chavez said his government would be willing to sit down with them and seek a friendly settlement, but that's up to them and not to us, reported AP.
ExxonMobil spokesperson David Eglinton said the company had no comment regarding the announcement.