Halliburton to halt Venezuela operations
Halliburton Shuts Venezuela Work as Trump Steps Up Pressure
Oil service giant will only be allowed to preserve assets
Announcement follows government decision early this week
By David Wethe/Bloomberg
Petroleumworld 04 24 2020
Halliburton Co. is shutting down primary operations in Venezuela as the U.S. tightens sanctions against the Nicolas Maduro regime.
“Through December 1, 2020, we are only permitted to perform certain transactions and activities necessary for safety or the preservation of assets in Venezuela, along with other administrative activities,” the company said Friday in a federal filing. “It is unlikely that we will be able to remove our assets that remain in Venezuela and those assets may be expropriated.”
The Trump administration is ratcheting up pressure on Maduro's regime as the country reels from the Covid-19 pandemic and the lowest oil prices in a generation. The decision appears to curry favor with anti-Maduro parts of the administration while still maintaining some level of American presence in the country that holds the world's largest crude reserves in the event of a political transition.
“We presently intend to remain in the country, consistent with the terms of the license issued by the Department of Treasury,” Emily Mir, a spokeswoman for Halliburton, said by email.
The Treasury Department earlier this week said it will no longer allow the five remaining major U.S. companies in Venezuela to drill wells, sell and buy crude oil or oil products or transport them. In addition to Halliburton, the decision affects oil major Chevron Corp. and oilfield service providers Schlumberger Ltd., Baker Hughes Co. and Weatherford International Plc.
Schlumberger and Halliburton have already written off a total of more than $2 billion in unpaid bills from Venezuela years ago, and yet have still kept a presence in the country that's home to the world's biggest crude reserves.
Chevron is the only major U.S. explorer that remained in the country after rivals Exxon Mobil Corp. and ConocoPhillips exited a decade ago after then-President Hugo Chavez seized control of their assets.