(Corrects context of March 18 forecast to reflect it was given
in a speech by the CEO, not an earnings report)
NEW YORK, March 31 Oil services giant
Schlumberger Ltd has improved its ability to collect the
money it is owed by Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA and will
now be able to recognize all revenue associated with its
first-quarter operations in the country, Schlumberger's CEO said
Schlumberger Chief Executive Officer Paul Kibsgaard's
announcement, published in a press release, follows a warning
from the company earlier in March that Venezuelan customers'
rates of payment had dropped sharply.
"After meetings with PDVSA, the collections have improved to
the point that we will recognize all revenue associated with our
first-quarter operations," Kibsgaard said in the release.
Kibsgaard did not provide any specific information in the
statement on how much Schlumberger would collect.
"We further expect to finalize a new payment agreement with
PDVSA and we anticipate ramping up activity to meet the current
and future needs of PDVSA's development and production plans,"
In a March 18 speech, Kibsgaard said Schlumberger was
maintaining its forecast for double-digit earnings growth in
2013 but that it was partially contingent upon reaching a
solution in Venezuela.
PDVSA has faced mounting debts since the 2008 financial
crisis. Venezuela's oil minister Rafael Ramirez told reporters
on March 22 PDVSA owed a total of $16.5 billion to service
providers. Ramirez, who is also PDVSA's president, said the
state-owned company was working to set up financing arrangements
to help pay off its debts to Schlumberger to keep the oilfield
services provider from pulling out of the country.
(Reporting By Emily Flitter; Editing by Chris Reese)