MARACAIBO, July 13 Venezuelan President Hugo
Chavez said on Sunday oil prices could hit $300 per barrel if
U.S. oil company Exxon Mobil again freezes Venezuelan assets in
a dispute over a nationalized oil project.
Exxon (XOM.N) won court orders freezing $12 billion in
assets held by Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA after the
OPEC nation took over a multi-billion dollar oil project,
heightening tensions with the United States and helping to
raise oil prices.
A London court later overturned Exxon's temporary asset
freeze, but Chavez said the company could seek further action
"If they freeze us there will be no more oil for the United
States, and the price will go to $300," Chavez said during a
televised meeting with Caribbean and Central American leaders
as part of an energy cooperation scheme called Petrocaribe.
Chavez also said oil prices were being influenced by a
"speculative bubble", the collapse of which could send prices
as low as $70 per barrel.
This contrasted with his Saturday statements that
geopolitical tensions, particularly the threat of an invasion
against Iran, could push oil prices to $200 per barrel.
"Years ago I said oil was going to go to $100 per barrel,
now it looks like it is headed toward $200," he said.
(Reporting by Manuel Hernandez, writing by Brian Ellsworth;
Editing by Toni Reinhold)