September 26, 2011 / 5:36 PM / 8 years ago

Helmerich & Payne sues Venezuela for nationalizing rigs

* Also sues Petróleos de Venezuela and PDVSA

* Says impact of this matter on results cannot be reasonably estimated

Sept 26 (Reuters) - U.S. oil and gas driller Helmerich & Payne Inc said its units have filed a lawsuit in a U.S. district court against Venezuela and two state-owned companies seeking damages for “forcibly taking” 11 of its drilling rigs.

Venezuela last year nationalized Helmerich’s fleet that was idled for months following a dispute over pending payments by the OPEC member’s state oil company PDVSA.

“Plaintiffs seek damages for the taking of their Venezuelan drilling business in violation of international law and for breach of contract,” Helmerich said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“At this time the net impact of this matter on the company’s consolidated financial results, if any, cannot be reasonably estimated.”

The lawsuit, filed in the District Court for Columbia on Sept. 23, is against Venezuela, Petróleos de Venezuela and PDVSA Petróleo.

The Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company’s shares were down half a percent at $44.30 in afternoon trade on Monday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Krishna N Das in Bangalore; Editing by Viraj Nair)

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