Venezuela's decision this week to halt oil sales to ExxonMobil is likely to hurt the struggling South American country more than the global oil giant.
With much of the world's most valuable natural resources under the control of national governments, Exxon likely believes it has no other choice than to stand firm in its escalating battle with Venezuela.
Still, some analysts are questioning Exxon's hardline strategy in the dispute over compensation for Venezuela's nationalization of foreign oil operations last year. There's worry that it will affect the oil company's dealings with other foreign governments in the future.
"I'm not sure what the outcome will be, and I'm not sure that in and of itself is important," said Mark Gilman, an oil and gas analyst at The Benchmark Company. Gilman said it far more important that Exxon does not compromise its ability to do business in the future by looking like a difficult partner to have.
"I applaud them for taking the moral high ground and standing up for contract integrity, which is an essential part of doing business in any country," Gilman added. "The point is: what does it get them?...It does more for others than it does for them."
The tensions between Venezuela and Exxon began last year, but came to a head last week after Exxon won court orders in the U.K and other countries freezing $12 billion in overseas assets of state-run Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA. Now PDVSA claims it has halted shipments of crude to Exxon, the world's largest publicly traded oil company.
Exxon declines to comment on the situation.
Exxon secured the court orders as part of its lawsuit seeking compensation for the Venezuelan government's decision last year to take a majority stake in four Western oil company ventures.