CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) _ Venezuela is rerouting oil to China that had previously been sent to a U.S. refinery co-owned by its state oil company and Exxon Mobil Corp., Venezuela's oil minister said Friday.
Rafael Ramirez said Exxon has stopped ordering crude for a refinery in the New Orleans suburb of Chalmette as legal wrangling between the Irving, Texas-based company and Petroleos de Venezuela S.A., or PDVSA, continues.
"Everything went to China," Ramirez told reporters.
PDVSA and Exxon are locked in a fierce legal battle over compensation for the 2007 nationalization of a jointly owned heavy oil project in Venezuela's Orinoco basin.
Ramirez vowed last month that PDVSA would meet its existing contracts with Exxon, including continued shipments to Chalmette. The refinery processes about 190,000 barrels a day, but does not depend exclusively on Venezuelan crude.
PDVSA's profits increased 15 percent last year, jumping to $6.2 billion from $5.4 billion in 2006 as world oil prices reached historic highs, Ramirez said.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.