Skip to comments.Chavez Regime Nationalizes U.S. Oil Rigs
Posted on 06/29/2010 12:43:25 PM PDT by IbJensen
After socializing and devastating vast swaths of the Venezuelan economy, socialist President Hugo Chavez announced that his government was nationalizing a fleet of oil rigs owned by an American firm.
Oklahoma-based drilling company Helmerich & Payne stopped production with its 11 rigs after a conflict with Venezuelas state-owned oil conglomerate PDVSA, which defaulted on its nearly $50 million bill after the collapse in oil prices. So rather than make payment, the Venezuelan regime decided to take over the equipment.
"Our dispute with PDVSA has never been very complicated and our 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, said Helmerich & Payne CEO Hans Helmerich in a statement.
We have been in ongoing efforts in a good faith attempt to accommodate a win-win resolution, including a willingness to sell rigs, he added. The Venezuelan government has indicated that it plans to offer some sort of compensation, but details remain murky.
"Our workers are now in control of the rigs," said PDVSA (Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. the state-owned oil company) president and Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez, who noted that Chevron could also lose up to five rigs. "We are not going to let the private companies stop work or boycott in any way our oil operations."
Ramirez also suggested that other non-cooperating firms could have their assets seized, saying there was an ongoing plot to undermine the success of Chavez revolution. The expropriations will spur national production of hydrocarbons and strengthen the policy of full petroleum sovereignty, Ramirez claimed.
ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips have already abandoned the country due to previous nationalization schemes, filing for international arbitration to resolve the disputes. Foreign investment has all but disappeared amidst uncertainty about the regimes next move. And the value of Venezuelas currency continues to plummet as the government attempts to pay bills in devalued money and soaring inflation decimates the savings of Venezuelans.
The U.S. government said Venezuela should accept its obligations in the current rig dispute. We would just call on them to if they did make such a move to compensate the owners of those wells," a State Department spokesperson told reporters last week.
But Venezuela balked at the request. "PDVSA categorically rejects the statements made by spokespeople of the U.S. empire," it said in a statement, claiming the U.S. regime was trying once again to complicate relations with our partners."
Chavez and his government frequently lash out at the Yankee empire, which he blames for the failures of his policies. Ironically, the U.S. is the largest importer of Venezuelan oil.
In addition to jailing critics and seizing foreign-owned assets, Chavez also recently threatened the countrys largest food producer, Polar, with nationalization. The government has already taken over virtually the entire energy industry, telecommunications, media, steel, banking and other sectors, leading to wide-spread power outages, food shortages and economic catastrophe.
Chavez has been in power for more than a decade. And as reported previously by The New American magazine, the Venezuelan regimes petro-dollars are playing an important role in financing the resurgence of communism and socialism in Latin America.
Analysts said the nationalization of oil rigs prior to the September Congressional election could be political posturing. But it is not going to help the Venezuelan people or the nations crumbling economy, which performed worse than any other Latin American nation's this year.
While it may make for good politics stealing foreigners assets for the people plays well among some destitute populations, even if the government is primarily responsible for bankrupting the nation the long-term effect on the Venezuelan economy will outweigh any benefits. Foreign firms will continue refusing to do business in Venezuela, drying up capital, expertise, equipment and jobs that could otherwise have helped the nation lift itself from poverty.
Americans and their economy are sitting ducks for this monster and his sycophantic Congress to torpedo.
Quiz: Which will last longer? Bananas on the counter or Chavez? Tick-tick-tick-tick.
Shhhh, don’t distract the golfer.
Are you kidding? Obama’s taking notes!
Hopefully the company had the sense to deactivate and lock out all systems on the rigs... If it were up to me that POS Chaves would be taking over a bunch of completely worthless and useless platforms.
In his fancy shorts the Communist-In-Chief looks like a spider.
Too bad the Venezuelans don’t have a suicide bomber culture . . .
Meanwhile, Obunghole sits there with his thumb up his a$$.
So how’s that “hope and change” working out for everyone?
Really? No, Chavez is just being himself. I blame Hans Helmerich for getting us into this mess. How could he not see this coming. I’m sure he has great insurance.
Better to have a remote “destruct” switch. Do a Wyatt’s Torch on those bums.
Nice picture of the fleet at Gibraltar, but watch that stereotypical terminology.
This is far less important than say a college professor with a chip out of his shoulder and cop getting into an argument, causing the president himself to get involved with his now famous “Beer summit.”
Global warming and a carbon tax is a national security matter to this administration, not missiles defense, the Zumwald ship, FCS, F22, or even Iraq and Afghanistan........ As with “man made disasters,” you have an administration more or less redefining terrorism and downplaying an overt act of war in Korea where 46 S. Korean sailors died at the hands of a N. Korean torpedo.
You’ve got to have your priorities straight, and for this administration, American property being stolen by a despot, a rouge state that is hell bent on our destruction does not rise to the level of his concern.
We’ve had a large helping of the latter, but little of the former.
The company should have blown the oil rigs on the way out.
Venezuela should have new drilling rigs too.
Over the lsst 10 years, H&P has been replacing their old fleet of land drilling rigs with new state-of-the art ones called "Flex-Rigs" built here in Houston.
Where we are headed too...
Thank goodness nothing like that could ever happen here is the good ol’USofA! /s