CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuela’s state oil company said Tuesday that it has stopped selling crude to Exxon Mobil Corp. in response to the U.S. oil company’s drive to use the courts to seize billions of dollars in Venezuelan assets.
Exxon Mobil is locked in a dispute over the nationalization of its oil ventures in Venezuela that has led President Hugo Chavez to threaten to cut off all Venezuelan oil supplies to the United States. Venezuela is the United States’ fourth largest oil supplier.
Tuesday’s announcement by state-run Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, was limited to Exxon Mobil, which PDVSA accused of “judicial-economic harassment” for its efforts in U.S. and European courts.
PDVSA said it “has paralyzed sales of crude to Exxon Mobil” and suspended commercial relations with the Irving, Texas-based company.
“The legal actions carried out by the U.S. transnational are unnecessary … and hostile,” PDVSA said in the statement. It said it will honor existing contracts for joint investments abroad, but reserved the right to terminate them if permitted by the terms of the contracts.