OIL FROM A STONE: Conoco Is Collecting $2 Billion From Venezuela—One Barrel of Oil at a Time.

Conoco has received an initial payment of $345 million in the form of “cash and commodities” from Venezuela’s state-run oil company, the Houston-based company said on Thursday. The remittance helped allay fears the cash-strapped nation wouldn’t be able to pay off the award in a long-running dispute over asset seizures.

Conoco didn’t provide more details in its statement, but people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News on Wednesday that the company loaded about 1.5 million barrels of Venezuelan crude from terminals in the Caribbean run by Petroleos de Venezuela SA. Conoco resold the cargoes to refineries in the U.S. and Asia, the people said.

It will be interesting to see which winds down first: Venezuela’s debt to Conoco, or Venezuela’s ability to barter it down.