Venezuela's PDVSA to 'Nationalize' 18 Oil Rigs

NEW YORK May 14, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Petroleos de Venezuela SA plans to nationalize 18 oil rigs to cut operating costs, PdVSA President Rafael Ramirez said in an interview with local paper Panorama.

"Petroleos de Venezuela has 18 rigs that were turned over to the control of transnational corporations. These companies demand millions for the use of the machinery," said Ramirez in the interview, which was published on Panorama's web site over the weekend.

"Facing this situation, we have decided to nationalize this equipment, and put them under state control."

Ramirez did not say which companies currently operate the rigs. PDVSA was unable to be reached for immediate comment on Monday.

Foreign rig operators in Venezuela include Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB), Pride International and Baker Hughes (BHI). According to Baker Hughes data, Venezuela has around 80 active drilling rigs in the country.

Copyright (c) 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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