By Maria Armental | Wall Street Journal
Schlumberger Ltd. is cutting back operations in Venezuela, citing delays in payments from Petróleos de Venezuela, the country’s state-run oil company.
Venezuela, South America’s largest oil exporter, has been hard-hit by the sharp drop in oil prices, leading to the country’s worst economic slump since its independence from Spain.
The oil services giant had disclosed an arrangement in the fourth quarter under which Venezuela’s energy giant, PdVSA, transferred over “certain fixed assets” as payment for about $200 million owed.
Other oilfield-services companies like Halliburton Co. and Weatherford International Ltd. have reported similar payment delays from Venezuela’s energy monopoly.
Venezuela accounts for more than 10% of Schlumberger’s business, according to regulatory filings.
Founded in 1926, Schlumberger has maintained operations in Venezuela since 1929.
Schlumberger, which Tuesday affirmed its first-quarter revenue projection of $6.5 billion, didn’t offer further details other than to say that the cuts will happen this month.
Shares, down 15% over the past 12 months, eased 0.5% to $75.55 in after-hours trading.