Most investors know that ExxonMobil
For starters, Exxon's embroiled in negotiations and other legal maneuvering relating to its pullout from Venezuela. Exxon left after the Chavez regime put the screws to the oil company and several competitors operating in the region, including Chevron
It now appears that PDVSA has offered to swap its half-interest in a Chalmette, La., refinery for a settlement of the dispute. The other interest in the 183,000-barrel-per-day facility is owned by none other than Exxon.
At the same time, a judge in the U.K. will begin hearings later this week on a PDVSA motion that the asset freeze be removed. The Venezuelan company contends that the UK courts lacked the authority to issue such a ruling in the first place. The judge in this case could rule as early as next week.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will finally hear arguments involving the oil spill that occurred almost 19 years ago, when the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska's Prince William Sound. At stake is a $2.5 billion judgment against the company relating to the environmental mishap.
Finally, Exxon, Conoco, and BP
What do these events have to do with investments? Lots. They indicate yet again that, along with their increasing technological challenges, oil and gas operations require progressively larger amounts of legal and political dexterity. For my money, Exxon's well-positioned to compete effectively on both fronts.
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