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Exxon CEO: Settlement with Venezuela could be reached before arbitration concludes

Although Exxon Mobil Corp. filed an arbitration claim against Venezuela, the U.S. oil giant continues to pursue settlement talks that could yield a quicker resolution, Chief Executive Rex Tillerson said Monday.

Tillerson described talks with Venezuela as ongoing and said he still hopes an amicable resolution is possible.

"In the meantime, we thought it was necessary to move on with the arbitration proceeding to protect our shareholders," Tillerson said. "It doesn't preclude us to come to some settlement before we get to the end of the arbitration proceeding that obviously we think will take several years."

Tillerson, speaking with reporters on the sidelines of the American Petroleum Institute's annual meeting, said the company has had contact with Venezuelan officials, both in Washington and Caracas. "We know how to reach one another," Tillerson said.

Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil, along with fellow U.S. oil giant ConocoPhillips, announced plans to exit Venezuela's Orinoco basin in June after refusing to agree to a new fiscal regime that steered more of the profits to Venezuela's national oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA.

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