People wait for public transportation amid the country’s worst-ever power outage, in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, March 8, 2019. Much of Venezuela was still without electricity Friday amid the country's worst-ever power outage, raising tensions in a country already on edge from ongoing political turmoil.(AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

The Latest: World Bank says Venezuela must pay Conoco $8bn

March 08, 2019 - 3:29 pm

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The Latest on the political crisis in Venezuela (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

An international arbitration tribunal is ruling that Venezuela must pay ConocoPhillips more than $8 billion as compensation for the government's expropriation of the U.S. oil giant's investments in Venezuela in 2007.

The World Bank's ICSID tribunal had ruled in 2013 that the expropriation of ConocoPhillips investments in two heavy crude oil projects violated international law.

"We welcome the ICSID tribunal's decision, which upholds the principle that governments cannot unlawfully expropriate private investments without paying compensation," said Kelly B. Rose, senior vice president, Legal, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of ConocoPhillips.

Venezuela's oil production has collapsed to one-third of its historic output, which critics blame on two decades of socialist rule. Venezuela faces around 20 arbitration cases at the World Bank, more than any other country in the world.

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2:25 p.m.

The Trump administration is granting U.S. companies more time to comply with sanctions barring transactions with Venezuela's state-run oil company.

The Treasury Department says that firms have until May 10 to wind down and close their business with PDVSA.

PDVSA was hit with U.S. sanctions on Jan. 28 in a step that caught some American companies by surprise. The sanctions had the effect of stranding several oil tankers at and near Venezuelan ports because their cargoes were unable to be legally paid for.

Treasury said Friday the extension will allow certain financial contracts agreed upon before Jan. 28 to be completed.

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2 p.m.

Power has begun returning to some parts of Venezuela's capital.

Pro-government state broadcaster VTV reported that electricity had been restored to 16 neighborhoods around Caracas.

That account could not be immediately verified, though some Venezuelans on social media began reporting they had power. Streetlights could also be seen turning on in a Caracas neighborhood.

However, the lights in one office building flickered on and then turned off.

The South American nation is experiencing its most prolonged blackout yet after the power went out early Thursday evening.

The lack of electricity is adding to mounting tensions over the political standoff between President Nicolas Maduro and the opposition.

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1:55 p.m.

Hospitals struggled to get back-up generators running and families anxiously tried to contact loved ones amid Venezuela's worst-ever power outage Friday.

Much of the nation of 31 million people was still without electricity as the blackout stretched into a second day and patience began to wear thin.

"This has never happened before," a frustrated Orlando Roa, 54, said. She decried President Nicolas Maduro's administration for failing to maintain the electrical system and letting qualified engineers leave the country. "This is the fault of the government."

Maduro ordered schools and all government entities closed and told businesses not to open to facilitate work crews trying to restore power.

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