25/05/2018 – Curacao Chronicle. / As President Maduro competes in a Sunday election in which he seems likely to prevail, ConocoPhillips and others target the country’s oil shipments
Venezuela’s leader, Nicolás Maduro, may well retain power after Sunday‘s presidential election . But his government faces a mounting threat from something he can’t control: creditors targeting the oil shipments that provide nearly all the country’s foreign income.
A series of court orders in recent days has authorized U.S. oil giant ConocoPhillips to seize as much as $2.6 billion in Venezuelan oil from Dutch Caribbean islands as compensation for assets that Venezuela’s Socialist government expropriated from the company in 2007.
The rulings are a major blow to the cash-strapped and increasingly isolated nation at a time when its once-thriving state energy monopoly, Petróleos de Venezuela SA, or PdVSA, has been left in tatters after years of mismanagement.
Conoco‘s aggressive actions, the latest in a decadelong legal battle, threaten to further undermine Venezuela’s diminished ability to store, refine and export crude oil, which it needs in part to ship to China as repayment for loans.
They follow efforts by a pair of mining companies to enforce payment of $2.6 billion won in separate arbitration cases . The companies are now seeking court approval to seize Venezuela’s external assets, including Citgo Petroleum Corp. in the U.S. Investors holding at least $2.5 billion in defaulted Venezuelan bonds could also target Venezuelan assets.
Combined with sanctions levied by the U.S. and other countries across the Americas, Venezuela is facing the tightest noose on its economy since 1902, said Venezuelan oil economist Orlando Ochoa. That is when European gunboats blocked its ports to recover unpaid infrastructure loans.
“This will have a brutal effect for PDVSA’S operational and storage capabilities,” he said
Spokesmen at PdVSA and Venezuela’s oil ministry didn’t respond to calls seeking comment. The oil ministry posted several messages on its official Twitter account Friday indicating it was ready to pay the money it owes Conoco. The posts were deleted an hour later
Conoco was able to secure the court orders against PdVSA after winning a $2 billion arbitration ruling last month by a tribunal representing the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce. The company “will pursue all available legal avenues to obtain full and fair compensation for our expropriated investments in Venezuela,” said Conoco spokesman Daren Beaudo.
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Con información de: Curacao Chronicle