U.S. oil producer ConocoPhillips Co. (NYSE: COP) on Oct. 25 said it received $345 million in cash and commodities last quarter from Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA under a settlement that came after ConocoPhillips seized some of PDVSA's assets in the Caribbean.
The proceeds were part of a first installment under a deal to satisfy a $2 billion arbitration award ConocoPhillips won earlier this year over broken oil contracts in the South American country.
The payment, disclosed with the company's third-quarter earnings, came months after ConocoPhillips went to local courts and obtained the right to seize most of Petroleos de Venezuela's Caribbean inventories, logistics and storage assets to enforce an April arbitration award.
PDVSA did not respond to a request for comment.
The state oil company is facing payments in coming days on bonds maturing in 2020. PDVSA used Citgo Petroleum, its U.S. refining unit, as 51% collateral on the 2020 bond.
ConocoPhillips in August suspended its legal seizures of PDVSA assets on the islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, and St Eustatius after PDVSA agreed to make an initial, $500 million payment within 90 days.
The court-ordered seizures aggravated Venezuela's oil-export declines caused by falling oil production due to lack of investment and an exodus of skilled workers. Oil is the financial backbone of the country's economy, which is suffering from hyperinflation and financial sanctions by the U.S. government.
The U.S. oil producer said Oct. 25 it expects to receive the remaining $155 million of PDVSA's first payment this quarter. A ConocoPhillps spokesman was unable to detail how much of the initial payment was cash and whether the commodities received included crude or refined products in storage at PDVSA Caribbean terminals.
The agreement with PDVSA provided for the remaining $1.5 billion of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) award to be paid quarterly to ConocoPhillips over a 4-1/2 year period. ConocoPhillips had sought $22 billion from PDVSA through the ICC for broken contracts and loss of future profits from two oil production projects in the country.
The settlement is not the end of legal maneuvers stemming from ConocoPhillips's 2007 exit from Venezuela during the country's nationalization drive. ConocoPhillips has an arbitration case before the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes that is expected to be concluded this year.
In all, the Houston-based oil company has sought $33 billion over the Venezuelan project losses in various international courts.
ConocoPhillips scheduled a conference call later on Oct. 25 to discuss details of its third-quarter results. The company's quarterly profit topped analysts' estimates, as the oil and gas producer turned more cost-efficient by deploying better technology and selling some assets besides benefiting from higher oil prices.
The company said net income rose to $1.9 billion, or $1.59 per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, from $420 million, or 34 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items, the company earned $1.36 per share, beating analysts' estimate of $1.18 per share, according to Refinitiv data.
The company's global output, excluding Libya, rose 22,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) to 1.22 million boe/d, helped by higher output from Europe and Alaska.
ConocoPhillips said it now expects to spend $6.1 billion this year, up from its July forecast of $6 billion.
The oil and gas rig count rose five to 402 in the week to Feb. 26, its highest since May, energy services firm Baker Hughes Co. said.
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