Venezuela has suspended oil exports to Exxon Mobil Corp, escalating the country's fight with the U.S. oil giant over compensation for a heavy crude project nationalised by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
HOUSTON, Feb 12 (Reuters) - The head of the International
Energy Agency on Tuesday said he was concerned by Venezuela's
decision to stop oil sales to top U.S. oil company Exxon Mobil
and was watching the situation closely.
"We have the concern on the physical side of the event and
are carefully watching," IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka
told reporters at the CERA Week conference shortly after the
South American country suspended oil exports to Exxon Mobil.
"If there is a risk of a physical disruption we are happy
to move," Tanaka said.
The IEA, energy advisor to 27 industrialized nations
including the United States, coordinates the release of global
crude oil and refined product stockpiles in the event of a
major supply disruption.
The last time the IEA released stocks was after two
hurricanes slammed into the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005.
Exxon Mobil won temporary court rulings freezing up to $12
billion in Venezuelan assets in a fight over payment for the
nationalized heavy crude project.
But Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA said it would not
break certain contracts with Exxon, an apparent reference to
the jointly owned Chalmette refinery in Louisiana.
It was not immediately clear what PDVSA would do with the
excess crude that would normally go to Exxon Mobil.
Venezuela's announcement pushed oil prices higher in late
trading on Tuesday, after prices declined during regular
activity. Oil had surged on Monday after Chavez threatened to
curtail oil supplies to the United States.
Date created : 2008-02-13