PDVSA to Form E&P Services Subsidiary with Chinese Rigs

Venezuela's state oil firm PDVSA is creating an E&P oil services subsidiary to be made up of oil rigs due to start arriving from China this year, energy and oil minister Rafael Ramirez told reporters.

"We are getting ready to create a services subsidiary, we are working with China and other countries in order to set up these joint ventures to lend these services," he said.

Venezuelans already have traveled to China to receive training in assembling and building the rigs.

Ramirez, who also serves as PDVSA president, announced the plan while denying a proposed nationalization of extra-heavy crude projects in the Orinoco belt would include services companies operating in the country.

"Those enterprises are service companies," he said. "They are private and not strategic."

Services companies include the local operations of Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB) and Halliburton (NYSE: HAL).

The JV strategy is designed to make PDVSA more independent.

"We will no longer be the national oil company that needs to import everything it needs for its operations," Ramirez said.

The administration of President Hugo Chavez has fostered a closer relationship between Venezuela and China in recent years.

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