Venezuela's Chavez threatens to cut oil to U.S.
Last Updated: Monday, February 11, 2008 | 11:49 AM ET
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has threatened to cut off oil supplies to the United States if U.S. oil company Exxon Mobile Corp. does not stop its legal action to seize billions of his country's assets.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has repeatedly threatened to cut off oil shipments to the United States.
(Fernando Llano/Associated Press)
Exxon has launched legal proceedings against the Venezuelan state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA, because it says compensation offered for the nationalization of its oil installations in Venezuela has been insufficient.
Chavez's threat caused oil prices to spike on Sunday to nearly $93 US a barrel before retreating slightly in Monday trading in the Asian markets.
On Sunday, Chavez accused the Texas-based oil company of acting in concert with Washington and vowed that "the outlaws of Exxon Mobil will never again rob us."
"If you end up freezing (Venezuelan assets), and it harms us, we're going to harm you," Chavez said, turning his words to U.S. President George W. Bush. "Do you know how? We aren't going to send oil to the United States. Take note, Mr. Bush, Mr. Danger."
U.S. 'master' of oil companies
Exxon Mobil has gone after the assets of Petroleos de Venezuela SA in U.S., British and Dutch courts in challenges to the nationalization of a multibillion dollar oil project by Chavez's government. A British court has issued an injunction, "freezing" as much as $12 billion in assets.
The firebrand Chavez has repeatedly threatened to cut off oil shipments to the United States, which is Venezuela's No. 1 client, if Washington tries to oust him. Chavez's warnings Sunday appeared to extend that threat to attempts by oil companies to challenge his government's nationalization drive through lawsuits.
"I speak to the U.S. empire, because that's the master: continue, and you will see that we won't send one drop of oil to the empire of the United States," Chavez said.
Venezuela accounted for about 12 per cent of U.S. crude oil imports in November, the latest figures available from the U.S. Energy Department. The 1.23 million barrels a day from Venezuela makes that country the U.S.'s fourth-largest source of imported oil behind Canada, Saudi Arabia and Mexico.
|Liveleak on Facebook|