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Jun-25-2010 03:55printcomments

Venezuela Will Nationalize 11 US Owned Oil Rigs

Company has not resolved business matters with the wary Venezuelan government.

President of Venezuelan state oil company PdVSA made it clear to private corporations that they must abide by his country´s laws (RNV).
President of Venezuelan state oil company PdVSA made it clear to private corporations that they must abide by his country´s laws (RNV).

(CARACAS - The head of the Venezuelan state oil company PdVSA declared yesterday that the government is to nationalise 11 oilrigs previously operated by a US petroleum firm after the company closed down production and refused to negotiate a new services agreement.

PdVSA President Rafael Ramirez said that the nationalisation would “boost domestic production of hydrocarbons and strengthen the policy of full oil sovereignty.”

The firm, Helmerich & Payne, ceased operations in the state of Anzoategui nearly a year ago, claiming it was owed $49 million from the Venezuelan government in service payments.

Ramirez, however, argued that the company had not even sat down to negotiate.

He cited ulterior motives for the conduct of its management, saying: “There is a managerial class within the drilling sector that has refused to negotiate service tariffs with PdVSA.”

He said Helmerich & Payne’s actions were part of a plan by private companies within the industry to reduce oil production in order to weaken the government of President Hugo Chavez.

“We are not going to allow them to sabotage our operations like they did at the end of 2002,” he said.

In 2002, the former management of PdVSA and administrative and professional employees, with support from the opposition and private oil companies, shut down the oil industry in an attempt to bring down the Chavez government.

The attempt ultimately failed as Chavez, his supporters and many oil workers mobilised to re-take control of PdVSA and restart production.

Ramirez said that workers at Helmerich & Payne had played their part in this nationalisation too.

According to Ramirez, the workers had occupied its plant in order to bring the idle state of the company’s drilling facilities to public attention.

He said, “The workers decided to take custody of the installations while we await a favourable decision from the National Assembly.”

The National Assembly must now approve a “declaration of public utility,” meaning that there is a public interest in the nationalization of Helmerich & Payne – a necessary step for the nationalisation to be carried out.

According to Venezuelan law, the former owners of the company will be eligible for compensation.

Petroleum production and the sovereignty of the oil industry are central to Venezuela´s Bolivarian Revolution.

Figures released by Ramirez himself last week showed that PdVSA had spent $56 billion on social programmes between 2001 and 2008.


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lol June 30, 2010 6:30 pm (Pacific time)

To Anonymous Bunk, First, the majority of Venezuelan media is in opposition to the government and Hugo still won with a vast majority in the last election. He is not the only South American who has had enough of the IMF (Argentina), the US military bases (Bolivia)and foreign debt (Brazil). The illegals who come to the US (mostly from Mexico) do so because the costs of coming legally are so costly and nearly impossible. Immigration requires an expensive lawyer and years of documentation unlike in other countries that welcome new immigrants and make it easy. Those who come are doing so to make their lives better and to escape poverty. As for health care, the health care in Venezuela is better all the time partly due to the many Cuban doctors who volunteer there in the free clinics in the barrios. (There are many Americans in Cuban medical school) As you may have noticed in a recent survey by 6 European nations which included the US, accessibility for the poor to get health care in the US was at the bottom. Did you see the wonderful health care offered to Cubans in Michael Moore's Sicko movie? As for your belief that Hugo is the devil, you watch to much US biased media. To improve your understanding of the revolution of and by the people in Latin America, see Oliver Stone's new movie, South of the Border or The Take by Naomi Klien which is available on the net. As for moving to Latin America, I did so several years ago and will pay nothing when I see the oncologist in two weeks. (don't worry, it is just a minor skin problem) but it would cost me at least $500 for the same treatment in the US. As for freedom of speech, I was fired in the US for my beliefs. Go figure. You live in a police state pal.

Anonymous June 25, 2010 6:27 pm (Pacific time)

TO: "lol" the U.S. government was the one that has the safety inspectors that grant permission to drill. You might find it interesting to note that Obama was the recipient of the most campaign cash from BP (and Wall Street Banks). And if you think things are swell in Venezuela, how come all the illegals come here? So when you posted your comment, did you do so by carrier pigeon? Remember to turn off the lights before you leave when you move down there... for that keen medical care and lifestyle. Maybe you'll also dig on the controlled media and the lack of freedom of speech. If you don't want to travel that far, Cuba provides the same lifestyle.

jade June 25, 2010 5:56 am (Pacific time)

What happens when the underlying activity is inherently destructive? Does it matter whether it is state or privately controlled?

lol June 25, 2010 5:30 am (Pacific time)

bravo Hugo! Now just think what would have been the outcome if our government owned the oil rigs and had control of all the safety precautions??? Good on you Hugo, smarter than your pal Obama. Venezuelan poor have medical care which is more than the poor of Louisiana. Think of it, a nation that puts people first not oil companies.

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