CARACAS, June 29 (Reuters) - Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA has signed financing agreements with services firms Halliburton and Weatherford, PDVSA’s president said on Wednesday, following chronic payment difficulties for companies working in the OPEC nation.
PDVSA has more than $20 billion in outstanding bills to providers, which has led some companies to slow work. The company’s access to hard currency has tumbled along with the price of oil, and Venezuela is struggling with triple-digit inflation, a severe recession and heavy bond payments this year and next.
“This morning Weatherford signed a financing agreement with us, Halliburton signed yesterday,” Eulogio Del Pino, who is also the country’s oil minister, said in a speech broadcast on state television.
“We are going to share the difficulties together because (the services companies) can’t always be on the easy side of things. That’s the negotiation we’re having with many companies.”
He did not offer additional details on what agreements had been reached. Weatherford and Halliburton did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.
Halliburton, which in 2015 reported a foreign currency loss of $199 million due to devaluation, in April said it was curtailing activity in Venezuela. That statement came less than two weeks after top world services company Schlumberger announced a similar move as a result of payment difficulties.
Del Pino this month told Reuters that PDVSA was close to reaching a deal with Schlumberger that would boost the service company’s presence in Venezuela through a new financing scheme, without offering details. (Reporting by Eyanir Chinea and Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Diane Craft)