January 29, 2015 / 11:10 PM / 5 years ago

Harvest pulls arbitration request vs Venezuela over stake sale

HOUSTON, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Texas-based oil company Harvest Natural Resources Inc said on Thursday its affiliates have withdrawn a request for arbitration against Venezuela for blocking the sale of the company’s stake in an oil project in the country.

The action follows objections from Argentina’s Pluspetrol, which had agreed to buy Harvest’s 32 percent stake in Petrodelta for about $400 million. Pluspetrol filed a complaint this week in U.S. court for breach of contract, citing specific provisions that insulate it from any legal proceeding Harvest might start against Venezuela.

It argued that the arbitration “could seriously threaten Petroandina’s and its affiliates’ interests in Venezuela.”

Harvest filed for arbitration on Jan. 16, saying it was trying to protect the value of its investment in Venezuela through an arbitration before the Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

Harvest could go through a process established in the agreement with Petroandina or obtain a waiver to request arbitration, the firm said in a statement.

Reporting by Marianna Parraga; Editing by Richard Chang

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