Govt Official: Venezuela Doesn't Want To Cut Oil Exports To U.S.

Venezuela would like to avoid cutting oil exports to the U.S. because the measure would hurt both nations, a government official said Tuesday.

Ending oil shipments to the U.S. "is feasible", Bernard Mommer, a board member of state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, or PdVSA, said in a televised interview with state television.

Cutting the oil flow, however, "would cost (Venezuela) money and would cost the other side money too," he added.

On Sunday, President Hugo Chavez threatened to cut off oil shipments to the U.S. if ExxonMobil (XOM) eventually managed to seize Venezuelan assets overseas as part of a dispute over compensation.

Last summer, Chavez seized majority stakes in a host of key oil ventures controlled by Exxon and other foreign companies. Some accepted new terms as minority partners, but Exxon and ConocoPhillips (COP), also of the U.S., chose to leave, and have since sought compensation.

Both companies have filed for arbitration, but Exxon went a step further and secured court orders to freeze more than $12 billion in PdVSA assets in the U.S., Europe and parts of the Caribbean.

PdVSA has vowed to appeal the move.

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