Exxon Mobil Corporation v Corporación Cimex S.A. and Unión Cuba-Petróleo (CUPET) - United States District Court for the District of Columbia - Complaint - Case 1-19-cv-01277-APM - Filed 02 May 2019
BACKGROUND (from the complaint)
18. Over 100 years ago, when Plaintiff was known as Standard Oil, it initiated business operations in Cuba by obtaining an interest in a refinery near Havana, Cuba.
19. As Standard Oil grew its business in Cuba, it established several subsidiaries. These subsidiaries included: (1) Esso Standard Oil, S.A. ("Essosa"), a wholly owned Panamanian subsidiary, formed in 1951, with responsibility for operations in the Caribbean Basin and headquartered in Havana until 1959; and (2) Esso Standard (Cuba) Inc. and Esso (Cuba) Inc., two Delaware corporations organized in 1957 and qualified to do business in Cuba for exploring for and producing crude oil (collectively, the "Exploration Companies").
Expropriation by the Cuban Government
20. Plaintiff's certified claim involves the property formerly owned by Essosa and the Exploration Companies.
21. Prior to 1959, the Exploration Companies maintained an office in Cuba for geological studies and owned assets incident to the functioning of the office.
22. On October 30, 1959, Cuban government inspectors from Fomento Nacional (National Development) arrived at the office of the Exploration Companies and confiscated and copied all files, maps, and other records of geological exploration. After the copying incident and the passage of Law 625 of November 29, 1959, which changed the basis for granting mineral concessions, the Exploration Companies stopped all exploration efforts on the island. On February 1, 1960, the Exploration Companies closed their office in Cuba.
23. On July 1, 1960, Essosa's property rights were expropriated pursuant to Resolution No. 33 issued by the Cuban Petroleum Institute, which was issued pursuant to Resolution No. 190 of June 30, 1960 by Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro. The Director General of the Cuban Petroleum Institute appointed Major Onelio Pino as "Interventor" of Essosa for "all the properties and installations that [Essosa] may have in Cuba."
24. As a result, Essosa not only lost control over its assets, but it was also forced to end its ongoing operations. Essosa was prohibited from operating its expanded Belot Refinery, which was completed in early 1958 and employed 530 people. Essosa was also forced to abandon its Cuban-based marketing operation with over 500 employees who were engaged in selling and distributing products through more than one thousand retail outlets. And Essosa was also forced to cease operating its service stations in Cuba.
25. Essosa subsequently appeared on the list of nationalized entities published in Resolution No. 1 of August 6, 1960 pursuant to Cuba's Law 851.
26. The Cuban Government expropriated the following assets from Essosa:
(a) Belot Refinery (Havana), a new 35,000 barrel-per-day refinery, including:
i. a marine terminal;
ii. a 8,800 pounds-per-day grease plant;
iii. a 205 barrel-per-day lube blending and packaging plant; and
iv. 109 storage tanks with a total capacity of 2.4 million barrels.
(b) Bulk products terminals, including:
i. three ocean terminals;
ii. seven inland terminals; and
iii. seven bulk and packaging plants.
(c) Service station properties, including:
i. 117 service station properties; and
ii. 176 loans outstanding to service station owners secured by mortgages.
27. These assets are hereinafter referred to as the "Confiscated Property."
28. Cuba has never paid, and Plaintiff has never received, compensation for the expropriation of the Confiscated Property.