Put Up Your Dukes: Venezuela Wants $110M in Taxes from Exxon

Orinoco Heavy Oil Belt
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The battle ensues in international courtrooms, as Venezuela and Exxon Mobil duke it out over lost compensations concerning the Orinoco Belt and the country's nationalization of oil and gas projects.

Now, the Venezuelan municipality Independencia claims that Exxon Mobil owes $110 million in taxes for production in the area between 2000 and 2006, reports Dow Jones.

Mayor of Independencia Humberto Bello said that a Venezuelan Supreme Court ruling in October 2007 found that Exxon owed $110 million to the municipality. He also said that if Exxon does not comply with the ruling, the municipality is considering filing an international lawsuit to force the company to pay.

If this course of action sounds familiar, it is. When Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez nationalized the Orinoco Belt, including the Exxon-operated Cerro Negro oil field, the U.S.-based oil giant chose to stop all operations in the country rather than take a smaller share in the project. Exxon-Mobil then moved to seek compensation through international court.

On February 7, 2008, courts in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antille awarded Exxon a freeze of $12 billion in international assets of Pdvsa, the state-owned oil and gas company.

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