Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro. Image courtesy of Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agência Brasil.

The Venezuelan government has asked the World Bank to annul a $1.6 billion payment the OPEC country was ordered to make to ExxonMobil after nationalizing its oil industry.

Venezuela filed its petition for annulment with the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes on February 2.

“The application alleges that, in issuing the ICSID award, the tribunal exceeded its powers, failed to state reasons on which the ICSID award was based, and departed from a fundamental rule of procedure,” Exxon said in a filing.

Venezuela’s lawyer George Kahale, a partner at Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle, told Reuters the World Bank has not yet set a schedule to issue its decision.

“The first step is for the appointment of the committee to hear the annulment application, and that has not happened yet,” Kahale said.

Exxon was awarded the payment in October by a World Bank tribunal as compensation for assets seized by Venezuela’s government in 2007 after it nationalized its heavy crude projects.

The amount was well below the $10 billion Exxon initially sought or the $6 billion cap set by the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes.

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

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

Venezuela has argued the World Bank award should be revised down to account for the ICC’s ruling.



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