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Oil Giants Eye Litigation After Venezuela Exodus

Law360 (June 27, 2007, 12:00 AM EDT) -- ConocoPhillips Co. and Exxon Mobil Corp. have abandoned Venezuela's Orinoco River basin rather than submit to President Hugo Chavez's demands to release their majority stakes in the oil projects there.

The parties are now in the process of negotiating compensation for their interests, which for ConocoPhillips alone is an estimated $4.5 billion. If no agreement is reached, the companies could then file an international arbitration claim with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, a unit of the World Bank.

Already, U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel...
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