Analysis

Venezuela: Exxon Mobil Case Imperils U.S. Companies
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gestures during a ceremony commemorating the anniversary of the death of Venezuelan Liberator Simon Bolivar in Caracas on December 17, 2011. (JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)
January 10, 2012
| Security, Energy
| The Americas
Summary
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A recent ruling by the International Chamber of Commerce on Venezuela's nationalization of Exxon Mobil property and President Hugo Chavez's response to the ruling suggest an ominous atmosphere for foreign companies in Venezuela in 2012. In particular, Chavez’s anti-U.S. and anti-capitalist bias will create a difficult operating environment in Venezuela for major U.S. companies such as Colgate-Palmolive, Avon, Ford, Clorox and PepsiCo who clearly have no recourse when faced with such government transgressions as seizure of private property. This special analysis, which includes comments from former U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela Otto Reich, looks at the Exxon Mobil-Venezuela case and its implications for U.S. corporations in Venezuela.

The International Chamber of Commerce last week ordered the Venezuelan national oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA, (PDSVA), to pay Exxon Mobil $750 million for nationalizing Exxon’s operations in 2007. After the ruling, President Hugo Chavez said that he would refuse to recognize any decision in a separate Exxon Mobil suit by the World Bank-affiliated International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes.

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