Exxon CEO sees Venezuela talks passing June deadline

Por Venezuela Real - 22 de Junio, 2007, 16:46, Categoría: Petróleo/Energía

Tom Bergin -Reuters
Arcaya & Asociados
Junio 21 2007

Exxon Mobil Corp.' s chief executive said on Thursday he expects negotiations over Venezuela's planned takeover of majority stakes in multibillion dollar projects in the country would go on beyond the June 26 deadline set by the government.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has ordered a group of six global energy oil companies to give the government 60 percent stakes in projects in the country's Orinoco Belt as part of a nationalization drive toward what he has described as his socialist revolution.

"We continue to talk to the government of Venezuela about receiving compensation and value for the interests that we transfer under the migrating contracts," CEO Rex Tillerson told reporters.

"We've come to no conclusion on that and so my expectation is that even though the date of the 26th certainly will come and go, that we'll continue to work with them to see if we cannot find a way to mutually resolve the value of the migration."

Earlier this week, the country's oil minister said a group of the companies was on the verge of signing deals with Venezuela.

The targeted companies are Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, Chevron Corp., Norway's Statoil, Britain's BP Plc and France's Total. Their Orinoco projects are valued at over $30 billion and are capable of producing around 600,000 barrels per day.

Venezuelan industry officials, who asked not to be named while talks were continuing, have said ConocoPhillips and Exxon are having the toughest talks of the companies involved.

Exxon is a 41.7 percent partner in the Cerro Negro project in the region. BP is a 16.6 percent investor in the project, and state-oil company Petroleos de Venezuela S. A. (PDVSA) owns the rest.

Exxon handed over operation of Cerro Negro to PDVSA in May. Tillerson also said a proposed energy bill in the U. S. Congress that would eliminate billions of dollars of tax incentives for oil companies would be devastating for the American consumer.

"There is nothing in this bill that is going to give the American consumer any relief in the near term. In fact there's a good chance its going to make the situation worse," he said.

But while Tillerson was speaking in London, the U. S. Senate pulled most of the teeth out of the bill -- eliminating $29 billion in extra taxes on the companies that would have funded incentives for clean energy.

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