Venezuela has asked Exxon Mobil to go back to the World Bank’s International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), and drop lawsuits filed in courts in London and New York. The lawsuits stem from the nationalisation of Cerro Negro, a heavy-crude oil project in Venezuela in which Exxon Mobil owned a majority stake. Injunctions obtained in the London and New York courts had resulted in $12 billion in Venezuelan assets being temporarily frozen until overturned on appeal in mid-March. Venezuela’s Congress had called on the government to pull out of ICSID, following the lead of Ecuador and Bolivia (see Update 58). However, Venezuelan minister of energy Rafael Ramírez has vowed to stay in ICSID and fight.
3 April 2006