US court backs Conoco’s $8.7bn award for seized Venezuelan assets

US court backs Conoco’s $8.7bn award for seized Venezuelan assets

A United States court has upheld an international tribunal’s $8.75bn award to US oil producer ConocoPhillips over the expropriation of its Venezuelan oil assets, granting a default judgement in the case on Friday.

The decision gives the US company new authority to collect on a 2019 award by a World Bank tribunal.

The award includes interest that adds at least $1bn to the amount owed to Conoco.

The World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) awarded Conoco $8.75bn for the 2007 expropriation of three of its oil projects in the country. Conoco had sought up to $30bn for the takeover.

US District Court Judge Carl Nichols found that Venezuela was bound by the terms of the ICSID Convention, and Conoco had properly notified the country of its lawsuit through the US Department of State.

A Conoco spokesperson did not reply to requests for comment.

Venezuela’s main foreign asset is US-based Citgo Petroleum, an oil refiner that split from its parent in 2019 and has been operating under legal protections from creditors issued by the US Treasury Department.