Honduras temporarily grabs Exxon, Chevron terminals
Sun Jan 14, 2007 12:59am ET
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Honduras will take temporary control of foreign-owned oil storage terminals as part of a government import program meant to drive down fuel prices, President Manuel Zelaya said on Saturday.
Zelaya ordered the move after failing to reach a deal with big oil companies Exxon Mobil and Chevron, as well as local company DIPPSA, to rent the terminals.
"It is not a nationalization, it's a temporary use of the storage tanks through a lease and payment of a reasonable price," he said.
The government program takes control of imports away from the small group of oil companies that operate service stations in the Central American nation.
Honduras produces no crude of its own and no longer has a refinery. Its fuel market, like in most of Central America, is dominated by Shell Oil, Exxon and Chevron.
Those companies have opposed the new system, saying it is anti-competitive.
Oil companies in Honduras imported some $900 million worth of fuel in 2005.
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