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Or perhaps it is a Halloween prank with someone in a Jabba the Hutt costume; In any case, the Bush Administration's Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman has hand-picked former ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond to" lead an influential study to develop policy solutions to America’s energy crisis". We suppose that even with a 400 million dollar severance you can get bored in retirement, but surely putting the fox of big oil in charge of a henhouse like this is a dumb move. Don't remember Lee? read David Robert's great farewell in ::Grist and join the campaign to overturn this appointment at ::Exxpose Exxon via ::Groovy Green

Source: complexxon

Exxon accused of 'judicial terrorism'

Venezuela berates move to freeze oil firm assets

Feb 09, 2008 04:30 AM

Associated Press

CARACAS–Venezuela's top oil official accused Exxon Mobil Corp. yesterday of "judicial terrorism," but said court orders won by the oil major do not amount to confiscation of $12 billion (U.S.) in assets.

Exxon Mobil has gone after the assets of the state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA, in U.S., British and Dutch courts as it challenges the nationalization of a multi-billion-dollar oil project by President Hugo Chavez's government.

A British court last month issued an injunction "freezing" as much as $12 billion in assets.

But Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said: "They don't have any asset frozen. They only have frozen $300 million" in cash through a U.S. court in New York. As for the case in Britain, PDVSA doesn't have "any assets in that jurisdiction that even come close to those sums" of $12 billion, Ramirez said.

He called it a "transitory measure" while PDVSA, the state company, presents its case in New York and London. Exxon Mobil is also seeking international arbitration, which Venezuela has agreed to.

But Ramirez, who is PDVSA's president, said Exxon Mobil "hasn't respected the terms of the arbitration" and its claims in the nationalization dispute "don't even come close to half the sum of $12 billion claimed by them."

Exxon Mobil spokesperson Margaret Ross said the company had no comment on the statements by Ramirez, who said the court cases "don't have any affect on our cash flow, don't affect our operational situation at all."

Ramirez said Exxon Mobil sued in New York, London and the Netherlands to dispute the terms under Chavez's nationalization last year of four heavy oil projects in the Orinoco River basin, one of the world's richest oil deposits.

"We don't have any decision by any court that's definitive," he said. "We have a preventative measure ... that we have a right to respond to, and we are going to."

He accused the Texas-based oil major of employing "judicial terrorism" and trying to generate "financial nervousness" around PDVSA.

Court documents show Exxon Mobil has secured an "order of attachment" on about $300 million in cash held by PDVSA. A hearing to confirm the order is set for Feb. 13 in New York. In a Jan. 24 "freezing injunction," a British court said PDVSA "must not remove from England or Wales any of its assets ... up to the value of $12 billion."

Other major oil companies have negotiated deals with Venezuela to continue on as minority partners in the Orinoco oil project.

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