January 2, 2012- Exxon Mobil was awarded $900 million by an international arbitration board. The panel ruled that Venezuela has to pay the oil conglomerate. Exxon Mobil has been in a long battle with the Venezuelan government over the nationalization of its assets by the Venezuelan government. Not including the Middle East, the Orinoco Belt where the oil reserves are located, is one of the worlds most coveted.
When Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, took state control of Exxon’s project in 2007, the oil company started it legal battle. The seizing of Exxon’s assets started the Venezuela’s nationalization of other oil company projects located in the country.
Exxon received the panel’s decision on Friday. Attempts to speak to officials from Venezuela about the decision were not successful. The ruling in this case is just one of many cases the International Court of Arbitration is involved in over the different nationalizations that have taken place in Venezuela.
The country’s oil minister Rafael Ramirez had said last year that the country might have to pay more than $2.5 billion to Exxon as compensation for the arbitration. Even though there have been a number of legal battles involving the nationalizations in 2007, the oil industry in the country is still open to foreign investment, unlike in Mexico and countries in the Middle East.