DALLAS -- Petrosucre, a subsidiary of the Venezuelan national oil company PDVSA, has assumed control of drilling operations on the jackup ENSCO 69 in Venezuela in an ongoing dispute over Petrosucre's non-payment of past due invoices under a drilling contract for the rig.
When Petrosucre failed to honor commitments to pay past due amounts, Ensco suspended drilling operations upon completion of the well in progress pending payment of past due amounts. Petrosucre resumed drilling operations under observation by Ensco supervisory rig personnel, with Petrosucre employees and some of the Venezuelan rig crews that were used by Ensco.
Petrosucre has advised Ensco that it temporarily is taking over operations on the rig and that Ensco is free to terminate the contract and remove the rig. Senior representatives of Ensco and Petrosucre currently are engaged in discussions and exchanging correspondence regarding their respective contractual rights and obligations.
ENSCO 69 began its current contract with Petrosucre in August 2008. The contract calls for a two-year term at a day rate in the mid-$180,000 range. Currently, the total receivable balance is approximately $35.5 million. The rig is insured for $65 million.