Image courtesy of Victorgrigas/Wikimedia Commons.

A World Bank tribunal ruled Thursday that Venezuela should pay $1.6 billion to ExxonMobil for assets the country seized in 2007 after the nationalization of heavy crude projects.

The amount is well below the $10 billion Exxon initially sought or the $6 billion cap set by the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), Reuters said.

Exxon said it lost $16.6. billion due to Venezuela’s nationalization plan.

The ICSID, the tribunal overseeing the case, awarded Exxon $1.4 billion for assets seized from its Cerro Negro project and $9 million for production and export hits that project sustained.

The tribunal also awarded $179.3 million for assets seized from the La Ceiban project.

In a separate decision the International Criminal Court ordered PDVSA, Venezuela’s state owned oil company, to pay Exxon $908 million in compensation.

The ICSID said Exxon can not be compensated twice for the assets appropriated during the nationalization of heavy crude projects in the Orinoco region.

Venezuela can appeal to have the decision annulled.

While Venezuela would likely not win its appeal the move could buy the country time to negotiate an alternative settlement, Reuters said.

Venezuela is already struggling to make ends meet as inflation spikes and bond payment deadlines draw near.

However, there is also a possibility that Venezuela will not comply with the court’s decision.

“As a practical matter, I highly doubt Venezuela will comply with the ruling and pay the $1.6 billion,” said Pavel Molchanov, an oil company analyst with Raymond James told Reuters.


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