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The President of Venezuela’s National Assembly and opposition leader Juan Guaido will try to win an annulment for an US$8.7-billion compensation awarded to U.S. supermajor ConocoPhillips by an arbitration court for the forced nationalization of the company’s Venezuelan business by the Hugo Chavez government.
This is what Guaido’s chief legal representative said as quoted by Reuters, adding that his team also plans to dispute the size of the compensation, which was awarded to Conoco by the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes. It is the largest compensation for asset nationalization in Venezuela awarded by a court, but not the only one, as several companies are suing Caracas for taking their business away from them.
Conoco, however, does not seem willing to follow Washington’s lead and help Guaido take the reins in Venezuela. A company spokesperson told Reuters that Guaido’s team’s request for annulment bore no merit and added that the company would “strongly defend” itself in case such a request was made.
Conoco’s opposition to any potential annulment is not the only problem Guaido’s team is facing. As Reuters notes, the World Bank has yet to recognize Juan Guaido as the legal leader of Venezuela before his team of lawyers can make any requests for annulments of compensation rulings.
Guaido declared himself interim president of Venezuela in January following the inauguration of incumbent Nicolas Maduro for his second term in office. The opposition leader based his declaration on the constitution, calling for new elections. Three months later, there is little Guaido can show for his efforts, except continuing but sporadic protests that evidently lack the strength to oust Maduro and his government.
More than two dozen governments have recognized him as the legitimate, albeit interim, leader of Venezuela, and Washington has granted him control over Citgo, PDVSA’s U.S. business, but this, too, has failed to strengthen the opposition enough to overthrow the government.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.