Chavez withdraws oil threat to U.S.
The socialist leader rattled oil markets last Sunday when he threatened to halt shipments to the United States in retaliation for Exxon Mobil Corp.’s success in persuading courts in the U.S. and Europe to freeze Venezuelan assets.
“We don’t have plans to stop sending oil to the United States,” the socialist leader said yesterday during a visit to heavy-oil projects in Venezuela’s petroleum-rich Orinoco River basin that were nationalized last year.
U.S. officials have denied any such plan.
The administration of Mr. Chavez — a close ally of Cuban leader Fidel Castro — is locked in a legal battle with the Irving, Texas-based company over compensation for the nationalization of one of four heavy oil projects in the Orinoco River basin.
Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, is seeking to freeze billions of dollars in Venezuelan assets in the United States and Europe to guarantee a payoff in the event it wins a decision by an international arbitration panel.
Last month, a British court injunction ordered up to $12 billion of assets of the Venezuelan state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela S.A temporarily frozen.