Venezuela wins appeal on $1.4 billion payment to Exxon Mobil

A World Bank arbitration panel has determined that Venezuela won’t have to pay $1.4 billion to Exxon Mobil Corp. for confiscating company assets during a wave of nationalizations.

Exxon Mobil asked the bank’s investment-dispute panel for $16.6 billion for the seizure of its Cerro Negro facilities in the Orinoco Belt under then-President Hugo Chávez who took over scores of companies to secure greater control over key economic sectors, especially the oil industry.

That panel awarded the company $1.6 billion in October 2014, of which $1.4 billion was for the seizure of a 41.7% stake in the Cerro Negro project. At the time, Venezuela hailed the result, calling it reasonable. The government later appealed the panel’s decision.

The arbitration panel issued a ruling Friday that annulled most of that judgment. The decision was celebrated in Caracas as “correct and courageous” according to a lawyer for the government.