Venezuela Seizes 11 US Gulf Oil Rigs Off Its Caribbean Coast

The Marxist Chavez Government seized 11 US oil rigs off its Caribbean coast yesterday. The US company said that Venezuela had owed them $100 million for services. Instead of paying the company Chavez seized control of the rigs.
The AP reported:

Venezuela’s government has seized control of 11 oil rigs owned by U.S. driller Helmerich & Payne, which shut them down because the state oil company was behind on payments.

Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez announced that Venezuela would nationalize the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company’s rigs. He said in a statement Wednesday that Helmerich & Payne had rejected government demands to resume drilling operations for more than a year.

Helmerich & Payne announced in January 2009 that it was stopping operations on two of its drilling rigs, because Venezuela’s state-run oil company, PDVSA, owed the company close to $100 million. It said it would shut down the rest of its rigs by the end of July as contracts expired unless PDVSA began to make good on its debts.

The company said Thursday that PDVSA’s debt was $43 million as of June 14.

Referring to Helmerich & Payne, Ramirez said: “There’s a group of drill owners who have refused to discuss service prices and have preferred to have this equipment put away for a year.”

President and CEO Hans Helmerich said in a statement on Thursday the company’s position has remained clear: “We simply wanted to be paid for work already performed.”

“We stated repeatedly we wanted to return to work, just not for free,” he said. “We are surprised by yesterday’s announcement only because we have been in ongoing efforts in a good faith attempt to accommodate a win-win resolution, including a willingness to sell rigs.”

The company has worked in Venezuela for 52 years, Helmerich added.

Let’s assume they’re not too concerned about President Obama’s reaction to their theft of American property.

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