- We have a very strong practice assisting international clients of the private sector with regard to their work for the Venezuelan state or state-owned companies in the energy and oil sector, including the drafting and reviewing of all documentation, designing appropriate corporate structures and assisting in their local corporate requirements, as well as counseling with regard to tax considerations and labor issues.
- In the 1920s the exploration, drilling and commercialization of oil started the process that turned Venezuela into one of the largest oil exporting countries and the country with the largest proven oil reserves in the world. The importance of the oil business for the Venezuelan economy is difficult to overstate. Mendoza, Palacios, Acedo, Borjas, Páez Pumar & Cía. has always been involved in this process, which has been international in nature not only because until 1975 the oil business was in the hands of foreign companies, but because its main purpose was to export hydrocarbons and their derivatives. Our experience began in the 1920s with the foreign oil companies, and, since then, we have assisted the foreign oil companies, as well as the Venezuelan government and state-owned companies, in negotiations and transactions related to oil, including the process of nationalization that took place in the 1970s.
- This involvement has included legal support for the major oil companies, especially those related to the Shell group, in matters such as negotiations with the governments of the different concessionary regimes, the modification of said regimes, disputes regarding tax and other issues which affected the major oil companies, the organization and maintenance of these companies’ operations in Venezuela, and, finally, the entire nationalization process.
- After the nationalization, we continued to assist our clients in their business in Venezuela, and, with their consent, we started to provide advice to two of the three Venezuelan operating companies, and to PDVSA, from 1976 until 2003.
- We participated, as local counsel to the bank lenders, in two of the four major heavy oil projects in the Orinoco Belt (Petrozuata, now Petroanzoátegui, and Hamaca, now Petropiar); we then assisted the bank lenders of these two projects with regard to the nationalization of all the extra heavy oil projects in the Orinoco Belt in 2007, as well as the issues regarding the Venezuelan security package, the release of which is still pending; and, finally, in the years 2008 and 2009, we assisted the bank lenders in another of the four major heavy oil projects in the Orinoco Belt (Sincor, now Petrocedeño), when a new leader was appointed.
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