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OPEC supports Venezuela in dispute against Exxon Mobile

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries supported Venezuela Wednesday in its dispute with US oil company Exxon Mobil in international courts.

The organization’s support was unanimous, Venezuelan Energy and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez told a Venezuelan television network from Vienna, where he is attending an OPEC conference. Exxon Mobil said that it has frozen assets worth some $12 billion owned by Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) in Britain, the Netherlands and the United States. Exxon Mobile filed a lawsuit against PDVSA demanding compensation for losses suffered following Venezuela’s drive to nationalize its energy sector. The nationalization of the Orinoco Oil Strip, which began on May 1, 2007, ended Exxon’s role as a prime associate of PDVSA.

Venezuela’s Ambassador to Britain, Samuel Moncada, thanked OPEC for its support in the legal dispute after attending hearings at the highest courts of England and Wales Wednesday. “We think it is very important that OPEC found out about the situation and the potential danger this has for them as well,” said Moncada. “Other oil exporting countries are noticing the dangerous situation Exxon can put them in with these kinds of aggressive actions in foreign courts,” he added. (