CARACAS, Feb 12, 2008 (AFP) – Venezuela’s state petroleum company PDVSA said Tuesday it suspended oil supplies to ExxonMobil in retaliation for the US energy giant’s effort to freeze billions of dollars in global PDVSA assets.
In a statement, the Venezuelan oil concern cited “judicial-economic aggression” by ExxonMobil as the reason for its action, which it described as an act of “reciprocity.”
“PDVSA has suspended crude sales to ExxonMobil,” the firm said.
The move by Venezuela comes after ExxonMobil secured international court orders freezing up to 12 billion dollars in PDVSA assets.
The court orders were issued as part of an international arbitration sought by ExxonMobil to gain compensation for the leftist Venezuelan government’s nationalization of key oil fields in the Orinoco basin.
PDVSA decried ExxonMobil’s move as “unnecessary, hostile, and meant to intimidate.”
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatened on Sunday to cut oil deliveries to the United States in the wake of the asset freeze.
“If you really manage to freeze (the assets), if you do us damage, we are going to cause damage too. We are no longer going to send oil to the United States,” he said.
But the US State Department brushed off the threat, noting that Chavez has issued similar warnings in the past.