Exxon Mobil has said that it was still in negotiations with the Venezuelan government to join in a $2.2 billion liquid natural gas project and had not been notified it would not be allowed to participate in the scheme. Venezuela's Energy and Mines Ministry removed Exxon as a partner in the project and replaced it with Qatar's state owned oil company, El Nacional reported today, citing unidentified industry officials. “We have not received any official government communication designating the joint venture partners selected to develop the project,” said Richard Bailey, an Exxon spokesman in Venezuela. “Exxon Mobil de Venezuela has complied with all requirements by the Ministry of Energy and Mines with regard to the Paria Gas Project. Private discussions continue.” The project plans to pump natural gas offshore in the Gulf of Paria and pipe it to the mainland, where it will be converted to liquid natural gas for export. The project, which has been in discussion for more than a decade, had been delayed over concerns about its profitability.