April 23 (UPI) — Oilfield services company Halliburton said it was still committed to the market in Venezuela, even as its Latin American segment saw quarterly revenue decline.
Halliburton recorded revenue of $457 million for the first quarter from its Latin American operations, down 1 percent from the same time last year. The company attributed part of the decline to a drop in activity in Venezuela, which is the target of Western sanctions.
“As a result of recent changes in the foreign currency exchange system in Venezuela and continued devaluation of the local currency, combined with U.S. sanctions and ongoing political and economic challenges, Halliburton wrote down all of its remaining investment in the country during the first quarter of 2018,” it said in its quarterly statement.
A member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Venezuelan oil production is at record lows.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last month that instead of reforming, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was trying to get around existing sanctions by using a digital currency and tightened the sanctions noose as a result.
Undeterred, the state oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, said through its official Twitter account that Maduro has continued to support the cryptocurrency.
Washington already imposed sanctions on the Venezuelan government and military officials in December in response to allegations of corruption and repression under the Maduro administration, and the latest sanctions prohibit transactions made with the digital currency on behalf of a Venezuelan government.
Despite the pressure, and the write down, Halliburton said Monday that it “is maintaining its presence in Venezuela and is carefully managing its go-forward exposure.”
Elsewhere, the company’s net income was $46 million for the quarter, compared with a first quarter 2017 loss of $32 million. Adjusted net income excluded the write down in its remaining investments in Venezuela. Total revenue was $5.7 billion, a 34 percent increase from last year.
Jeff Miller, the company’s president and CEO, said income was driven by the “robust” conditions in North America, where U.S. shale oil production continues to accelerate.
“Turning to the international markets, Halliburton has never been better positioned for a recovery than it is today,” he said.