PDVSA says new Venezuela military company to provide services
CARACAS Feb 23 (Reuters) - A recently-announced Venezuelan military company will provide services to state oil company PDVSA, especially in terms of security in the crime-ridden OPEC country, the company's president said on Tuesday.
Some industry observers and opposition leaders had speculated the company, Camimpeg, was a potential mechanism to shield assets from being seized in the event of a debt default.
But PDVSA president and Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino said the company is designed to provide services and support in the country with the world's largest oil reserves.
"It will help PDVSA in all the necessary areas. For instance in border areas, we're going to increase our security, in operational issues where our soldiers are perfectly prepared," Del Pino told reporters on Tuesday as he exited the National Assembly.
Venezuela's national crime pandemic - the United Nations says the country has one of the world's highest murder rates - is a growing headache for the oil industry, a recent Reuters investigation found.
Foreign oil companies operating in Venezuela have been clamoring for more protection, especially in the vast and isolated oil fields of the heavy crude Orinoco Belt.
Further details on the new company were not immediately available.
A PDVSA branch known as PDVSA Servicios used to provide many key services to oil fields but appears to have faded away in the last year.
Government critics say the announcement of the new army-led firm lacks transparency and shows Venezuela's already prominent military is gaining more power. (Reporting by Eyanir Chinea; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Nick Zieminski)
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