Oil and Gas

FACTBOX-Venezuela's state takeovers under Chavez

June 11 (Reuters) - Venezuela said on Friday a World Bank court had favored the OPEC member over Exxon Mobil Corp XOM.N in a preliminary ruling for a case brought after President Hugo Chavez nationalized oil projects in 2007. [ID:nN11154317]

Following are key events in the president’s push to build a socialist state in South America’s biggest oil exporter, along with some of the cases brought against the OPEC member:


* In 2007 the government took a majority stake in four heavy crude projects worth tens of billions of dollars in the vast Orinoco oil belt. U.S. majors Exxon Mobil Corp and ConocoPhillips COP.N quit the country over the move and filed arbitration claims against Venezuela with the World Bank's International Center for Settlements of Investment Disputes, ICSID.

* France's Total SA TOTF.PA and Norway's StatoilHydro STL.OL received around $1 billion in compensation after reducing their holdings. BP Plc BP.LBP.N and Chevron Corp CVX.N remained as minority partners.

* Last year, Chavez seized a major gas injection project belonging to Williams Cos Inc WMB.N and a range of assets from local service companies.


* Also in 2009, Chavez paid $1 billion for Banco de Venezuela, a division of Spanish bank Grupo Santander SAN.MC, to help him channel state resources.

* His government has closed 11 small banks since November 2009 for operational irregularities. Some were reopened as state-run firms. Chavez has said he will nationalize any bank that fails to meet government lending guidelines or is in trouble.


* The government paid $2 billion in 2009 for Argentine-led Ternium SA's TX.N stake in Venezuela's largest steel mill.

* Chavez ordered the nationalization of the cement industry in 2008, affecting Mexico's Cemex CX.N, Switzerland's Holcim HOLN.VX and France's Lafarge SA LAFP.PA. Holcim and Cemex both filed for arbitration with ICSID.

* Chavez has also considered bringing mining more firmly into state hands, and last November the mining ministry seized Gold Reserve Inc's GRZ.TOGRZ.A Brisas project, which sits on one of Latin America's largest gold veins. Gold Reserve immediately filed for arbitration with ICSID.


* In 2007, Chavez nationalized the country's largest telecommunications company, CANTV, buying out U.S.-based Verizon Communications Inc's VZ.N 28.5 percent stake for $572 million. Analysts said Verizon's compensation was fair.


* In the same year, Venezuela expropriated U.S.-based AES Corp's AES.N stake in Electricidad de Caracas, the country's largest private power producer. It paid AES $740 million for its 82 percent stake. Analysts said the deal was fair for AES.


* In 2005, Chavez began implementing a 2001 law letting the state expropriate unproductive farms or seize land without proper titles. He has redistributed millions of acres deemed idle in a bid to boost food production and ease rural poverty -- taking over some large farms, including ranch owned by Britain’s Vestey Group, who also filed for arbitration. The government agreed to pay more than $3 million to a group of Spanish farmers for their land. (Editing by Marguerita Choy)