Venezuela Doesn't Intend To Pay More To Exxon

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) â¿¿ Venezuela's oil minister said the government doesn't intend to make additional payments to Exxon Mobil Corp. beyond about $255 million that it agreed to pay in a recent arbitration award.

Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said Monday night that Venezuela considers the dispute was settled by a recent decision by the International Chamber of Commerce.

Exxon Mobil also has another arbitration case pending before a World Bank-affiliated arbitration body, the Washington-based International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, or ICSID. But Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Sunday that his government should pull out of that body and doesn't intend to recognize its decisions.

"We don't expect any additional payment before the ICSID" in the Exxon Mobil case, Ramirez told reporters Monday night. "There's nothing more to rule on."

Exxon Mobil sought arbitration after Chavez's government nationalized an oil project in the country in 2007. The Irving, Texas-based oil company did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

The ICSID's website lists 17 pending cases against Venezuela. They include claims by Houston-based oil company ConocoPhillips Co., U.S. glass container manufacturer Owens-Illinois Inc. and Toronto-based mining company Crystallex International Corp.

As for the ConocoPhillips case, Ramirez said: "Conoco's continues."

The Houston-based company agreed. "Venezuela's withdrawal from ICSID will have no effect on pending ICSID matters, including ConocoPhillips' pending arbitration," said Davy Kong, a ConocoPhillips spokeswoman.

As for Exxon Mobil, the International Chamber of Commerce recently awarded the company more than $907 million in compensation for its nationalized assets.

The state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA has said it intends to pay about $255 million after subtracting debts, as well as funds in its U.S. accounts that Exxon Mobil had managed to freeze through lawsuits.
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