PDVSA planning new bond issue - report

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA is studying a new bond issue to eliminate debt owed to service providers, newspaper El Universal reported, citing comments made by the country's oil and energy minister and PDVSA president Rafael Ramírez.

"We're considering another issue, and it's something that we would coordinate with the finance ministry," he said at the World Heavy Oil Congress on Margarita Island, according to the newspaper.

"We've already said that we would issue bonds to get up to date with our service providers," he continued. "By the end of the year, which has been a difficult year, we will be caught up and not have any remaining debt owed to service providers."

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Press reports earlier in the year suggested that PDVSA owed up to US$7bn to service firms that operate in the country.

PDVSA issued bonds for a total of US$3.26bn last month. The bonds, however, have already depreciated by 5%.

"It doesn't have anything to do with the health of PDVSA," Ramírez said, referring to the declines.

PDVSA launched the Petrobono bond round in mid-October. Open to Venezuelan investors only, the issue was denominated in US dollars but acquired in bolívares at the official exchange rate of 2.15 bolívares per US dollar.

Venezuelans typically buy the bonds to take advantage of the gap between the official and black market exchange rates.

PDVSA in June launched a US$3bn bond round dubbed Petrobono 2011. The company, however, was only able to sell bonds worth a total of US$1.42bn.