Legal action over Conoco
CARACAS. Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA will take legal action over ConocoPhillips' bid to buy out Venezuela's share in the Merey S...
CARACAS. Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA will take legal action over ConocoPhillips' bid to buy out Venezuela's share in the Merey Sweeny refinery in the United States, a senior PDVSA official said.
Conoco said last week it had a right to take PDVSA's share in the refinery because Venezuela had broken a contract and not supplied oil this year. Conoco and Venezuela are already embroiled in a legal dispute over the 2007 nationalization by President Hugo Chavez of foreign-owned oil projects worth billions of dollars in the OPEC nation. Conoco and ExxonMobil did not reach an agreement with Venezuela over compensation for the takeovers and launched ongoing international legal cases against the country.
Conoco has exercised an option to buy Venezuela's 50 percent stake in Merey Sweeny, part-owner of the Sweeny refinery in Texas, saying PDVSA broke its contract by failing to deliver oil to the plant sine the beginning of the year.
Del Pino said Conoco's attempt to buy PDVSA's share in Merey Sweeny was a new move in the company's dispute with Venezuela.
PDVSA appears to have chosen Exxon and Conoco to bear the brunt of output cuts mandated by OPEC in January. It also stopped delivering oil to the Chalmette refinery it operates with Exxon in the United States for several months -- reducing US supplies by a total of 122,000 barrels per day. The Chalmette supplies are likely back to normal now, since PDVSA has restarted production at the Cerro Negro project in the Orinoco belt that supplies the refinery.