Along with the ongoing hullaballoo over PDVSA’s takeover of 11 oil drilling rigs from U.S. contractor Helmerich & Payne, there are other, lower-profile Venezuela nationalization stories floating along.
As Reuters noted last week, OPIC (not the U.S. government agency, but the Taiwanese oil company) filed June 16 for arbitration against Venezuela through the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. The case arises from OPIC’s stake in an oilfield that Venezuela took over when the operator, ConocoPhillips, left the country in a fight over another nationalization. Confused yet? This brings to 11 the number of pending ICSID cases in which Venezuela is the respondent. Still a long way to go to catch up to Argentina, which has 28 active cases against it. (Still #1 in something, those Argentines!)
Meanwhile the usually reliable Petrofinanzas is reporting that PDVSA reached a settlement with Williams Cos. for the purchase of Williams’ stake in Accroven, one of the projects that Venezuela took over last year in its blitz on oilfield service companies that had control over strategic assets. The article goes on to cite “industry sources” (really horrible term) that PDVSA will soon settle up and buy the expropriated Pigap and Furrial natural gas injection plants. If this happens, it should be big news for Williams Cos.
I don’t know if any of this is true. But if so, it would be business as usual for PDVSA — make a big fuss about the being such hard-core nationalists and seizing assets and stickin it to the Man, while at the same time, with no press releases, paying up and getting on with business. I’m not going to tell anyone with money at stake that they should count on PDVSA’s good intentions, but it’s also important to note that a lot of the revolutionary blah blah blah is just a bunch of hot air for domestic consumption.