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Venezuela Oil Services Debt Rises To $1.2 billion As Rig Count Dips

Maduro

Contractors have cut back the drilling of oil in Venezuela amid a rising unpaid debt owed to suppliers by the Latin American country’s government and state-owned producer PDVSA.

As originally reported by Bloomberg on 28 June 2016, Baker Hughes noted that the number of oilrigs in Venezuela fell from 69 to 59 last May. This would represent the lowest level of rigs in more than a year, according to the Houston-based industrial service company.

The information from Baker Hughes comes after Stefano Cao, CEO of Italian oil and gas contractor Saipem SpA, said last April that his company had suspended operations on 25 of its 28 rigs in Venezuela.

Halliburton Co., meanwhile, said last month the amount it was owed rose by 7.4 percent in the first quarter to $756 million.

Neither Saipem nor Halliburton commented to Bloomberg.

Related: Iran’s Oil Production Is Slowing Fast

Schlumberger Ltd. President Patrick Schorn told investors at a conference last week that his firm reduced activity in Venezuela amid a drop in payments to pay off $1.2 billion owed by PDVSA as of 31 March. He affirmed the commitment of the world’s largest oil-services company by market value in Venezuela, and added that operations can increase if “new payments models” are implemented.

Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino declined to mention if PDVSA has delayed payments to its contractors, but expressed confidence they will continue to function in Venezuela.

“They have been operating in the country for more than 100 years,” the minister said. “They are not going to leave.”

As oilprice.com mentioned on 23 June, analysts believe that Venezuela’s diminished oil production could be worsening at a rate faster than initially believed. The low price of crude, strong reliance on a weakened power grid system, and a lengthy drought has been blamed for the decline in production. This is making it more difficult for the Venezuelan state and PDVSA to promptly pay back its creditors and is adding to their debt.

“The situation is becoming more and more difficult for oil services in Venezuela,” Baptiste Lebacq, an analyst at Natixis SA in Paris, mentioned to Bloomberg. As long as oil prices are at current levels, it will be “very difficult” for PDVSA to pay the contractors, he mentioned.

By Erwin Cifuentes for Oilprice.com

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  • Will on June 29 2016 said:
    CLASSIC ! ! !
    Chavez was like the 18 year old kid that wins 8 million in the lottery, then begins helping the neighborhood. He pokes fun at the nearby Country Club (USA) and buys as many inane items he and his friends can fit in their new Scions. He underwrites dozens of loans for first time business owners....then his ATM cards stop working while he's filling his Range Rover with gas. His 8 million is now $139.77 and he's got $11,912 due in loans his drone friends borrowed. Of the 22 business loans, 4 are still open, 18 bankrupt.
    Now....sell the salon at a huge loss, sell the tattoo parlor he put 400K into for $15,000, and, Ohhh boy, sell the Range Rover for $4,500 (he paid $89,600). Stop renting the 6 bedroom mansion and move into an efficiency behind the 7-11. I lived/worked in Caracas and saw first hand at how one man's out of control ego could do so much damage
  • Kr55 on June 28 2016 said:
    wow, surprised that anyone would still be spending a dime in Venezuela unless they were getting guaranteed payment as a percentage of oil extracted. Could be waiting a lifetime if you want to actually get paid by the Venezuela government now.

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