PDVSA: Subcontracted Workers Stop Drilling

Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA confirmed that subcontracted workers had stopped drilling at several rigs in the western part of the country, the company said in a statement.

"We are ending an unusual situation," PDVSA president and energy and oil minister Rafael Ramirez said in the statement. "Rigs owned by PDVSA have been operated by subcontracted workers and interested sectors are attempting to pressure us. But we won't give in."

Nearly 1,200 oil workers had halted drilling at 14 rigs in the eastern state of Mongas, BNamericas reported last week.

PDVSA this year nationalized 46 rigs in eastern and western parts of the country. The company has admitted difficulties in absorbing the former employees of private companies, PDVSA said in the statement.

"We are going to absorb a great number of workers," Ramirez said, adding political leaders and union activists are pressuring the company to take on more employees than the company needed to run the rigs.

NATIONALIZATION

In related news, PDVSA is completely operating former stakes held by oil majors ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil in the Orinoco heavy crude belt.

The two companies had been unable to negotiate terms with PDVSA that would cede majority control of their operations to the state-owned company and PDVSA subsequently took control of their operations.

Talks surrounding compensation for the nationalized assets of ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil continue with PDVSA, the company said in the statement.

PDVSA increased its stake to 78% from 30-49.9% in JVs in the Orinoco belt.

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