Venezuela says will pay for nationalized H&P oil rigs

June 28, 2010, Monday/ 17:56:00/ REUTERS
Venezuela will pay Helmerich and Payne for a fleet of oil rigs it seized from the US company, the oil minister said on Saturday, warning that five drills at a Chevron venture were also at risk of nationalization.

Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez announced this week that OPEC member Venezuela was nationalizing 11 rigs belonging to Helmerich and Payne following a year-long dispute over pending payments by state oil company PDVSA. “Here we pay book value,” Ramirez said. “A process begins by which we establish fair price between the two parties.”

Socialist President Hugo Chavez has nationalized most of Venezuela’s oil industry, starting with major heavy-crude projects worth billions of dollars in 2007, then taking over dozens of smaller service companies last year. Ramirez said the government would not allow the private sector to idle equipment in pay disputes with state-run oil company PDVSA and did not rule out further nationalizations.

On PDVSA’s website, Petroboscan is listed as a 115,000 barrel per day joint venture formed in 2006 with U.S. firm Chevron. Chevron says the project produced 90,000 bpd of liquids in 2009 and drilled six development wells.

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