Multinational oilfield services provider Schlumberger is scaling back its business in Venezuela because of payment problems with that country’s state oil firm PDVSA.
Sole rights holder to Venezuela’s vast oilfields (both on and offshore) Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) has been tardy with payments and been unable to arrange satisfactory settlement of payments owed, Schlumberger says.
Schlumberger, which has principal offices in Houston, Paris, London and The Hague, will reduce its presence gradually though this month.
The oil-price slump has hit PDVSA badly and it is believed to be billions of dollars in arrears to various service providers. However, PDVSA disputes the reports, claiming malicious media are misrepresenting the company’s position.
The denials mirror last month’s incident when PDVSA rejected international reports that there was a big backlog of tankers at its main oil terminal in the port of Jose.
Also last month Swiss authorities agreed to provide US investigators with records from 18 banks relating to PDVSA.
US authorities have been looking into whether PDVSA used foreign banks for black market currency schemes and laundering drug money, as well as whether PDVSA executives took billions in bribes.