Venezuela to seize 11 oil rigs from U.S. company

By BNO News

ZULIA, VENEZUELA (BNO NEWS) – The Venezuelan government, through Venezuelan Petroleum (PDVSA), will seize and nationalize 11 oil rigs from Helmerich & Payne which have not been used in a year, Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez announced.

The oil rigs will boost the national production of oil and strengthen the Venezuelan policy on foreign oil drilling. According to Ramirez, the unused oil rigs have been used by opposition groups in an attempt to disrupt the South American country's oil production.

Helmerich & Payne (H&P), a U.S. company, said that they haven't been informed about this matter as of Thursday and demanded PVDSA to fulfill the payments owed to the company for its services. According to the company, PDVSA owes them approximately $43 million. In contrast, Ramirez declared that Helmerich did not want to negotiate with Venezuela and that they are asking for high amounts of money.

"The owners of the company just simply don't want to negotiate and are asking for extremely high amounts of money, so workers decided to take into custody the facilities while National assembly reaches a decision," Ramirez said.

The nationalization will save at least $300 million per year which could be used then for deep drilling tasks in the north of Monagas.

H&P worked in Venezuela for 52 years. In the past, they have expressed their interest in continuing working there but only under favorable conditions. The Company expressed their dismay at Ramirez' remarks and said that they made several propositions including the sale of the oil rigs.

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