Chavez formalizes Harvest takeover

NEW YORK Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:03pm EDT

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NEW YORK Oct 26 (Reuters) - Harvest Natural Resources Inc (HNR.N) said on Friday leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez signed a decree to formally take majority control of the independent oil and gas company's operations there.

After the decree, an 80 percent-owned Harvest subsidiary owns 40 percent of the newly formed Petrodelta, the remainder of which is owned by state oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela SA.

Petrodelta will develop three fields operated by Harvest since 1992 as well as three new fields.

The move is part of a nationalization drive during which Chavez has overseen the takeover of operations owned by foreign oil companies, utilities and telecommunications companies.

Harvest shares rose 80 cents, or 6.4 percent, to $13.18 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Michael Erman)

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