PDVSA wins arbitration case against Opic Karimun

5/30/2013

PDVSA wins arbitration case against Opic Karimun

BY KEJAL VYAS

CARACAS -- A top international arbitration court has ruled in favor of the Venezuelan government, which had been sued by Opic Karimun for compensation over nationalized oil assets, the South American country's state energy giant PDVSA, said.

In a statement, PDVSA declared a "triumph" in the case, which was filed at the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes in 2010.

PDVSA said local laws allow for arbitration cases to be filed only when the company's country of origin has a bilateral investment treaty with Venezuela.

In this case, there wasn't one that protected them, which is why judges ruled in Venezuela's favor PDVSA said.

It didn't give additional details over the decision, which it said was handed down earlier the same day.

Opic had held a minority stake in two offshore oil blocs in the Gulf of Paria, between Venezuela's eastern coast and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

It was one of more than two dozen companies seeking payment over projects taken over Venezuela, many of which stem from a string of expropriations spearheaded several years ago by late President Hugo Chavez, who died in March from cancer complications.

The leader changed laws to give the state a majority stake in oil projects. Companies including Exxon Mobil Corp and ConocoPhillips rejected the government's terms and took Venezuela to international tribunals.

The Venezuelan government exited the ICSID court convention last year and no longer accepts new arbitration cases but is still subject to existing claims.

Dow Jones Newswires

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