CARACAS, Friday February 08, 2008 | Update
Pdvsa denies freezing of assets in connection with Exxon Mobil's complaint
Friday February 08, 2008  02:09 PM

After US oil major Exxon Mobil reportedly won court orders in New York and London to freeze the Venezuelan oil firm Pdvsa's both accounts in the United States and USD 12 billion-worth assets in the United Kingdom, Pdvsa CEO Rafael Ramírez Friday denied any move against Pdvsa's assets or accounts in connection with a complaint Exxon Mobil filed with the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

The official branded such claims as "absolutely false." "We have not been informed of any ruling by any court that may be final regarding any of our assets. A US court issued a precautionary ruling and we have the right to reply. In short, this is a temporary measure, while we file our allegations." Ramírez showed confidence that the precautionary measure would be lifted.

He added Pdvsa this week was filing two allegations and denied reports that Venezuela's oil shipments or operations were undermined.

The official clarified that the value of Pdvsa's assets in London or the Netherlands is not even near the sums reported as frozen.

Ramírez, who is also the Venezuelan Minister of Energy and Petroleum, explained that last December Exxon Mobil, besides arbitration against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, also filed a complaint against Pdvsa. "This shows clearly an intention to go against the sovereign interests of a country, an oil producer as Venezuela."

In his view, the move against Pdvsa is aimed at creating "unease and surprise, as we were not advised" in advance.

Ramírez reminded that Venezuela is implementing a nationalization drive under which the partnership agreements with operations in heavy-crude oil Orinoco strip were terminated. He explained that such a move was provided for under Decree 5200, dated February 27, 2007. "Based on this decree, we migrated all of the projects in Orinoco belt to joint ventures (including the operations where Exxon Mobil held a stake)."

Pdvsa CEO stressed that Exxon Mobil is the only oil major at odds with Venezuela.

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