Exxon wins less than expected from Venezuela dispute

CARACAS  - An arbitration panel has awarded US oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp $908 million in compensation for Venezuela's 2007 nationalization of its assets, less than 10 percent of what the company sought in a long legal battle with the OPEC nation.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez likely will celebrate the ruling as a vindication of his nationalist confrontation with oil companies aimed at increasing revenue from the industry to boost funding for state-led anti-poverty programs.
But Venezuela still faces another arbitration with Exxon over the nationalization of the Cerro Negro heavy oil project, as well as more than a dozen pending claims from companies such as oil major ConocoPhillips resulting from a wave of state takeovers.
"They must be elated that they got off so cheap. It's certainly a happy new year for Venezuela," said Russ Dallen, head bond trader at investment bank Caracas Capital Markets.