Chavez Tightens Grip on Oil Industry
Venezuela to take control of oil service companies
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2009 6:10 AM CDT
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez gestures as he delivers a speech during Labor Day in Caracas.   (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
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(Newser) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is stepping up state control of his nation's oil industry, the BBC reports. The president has announced plans to seize the assets of some foreign oil contractors who threatened to stop work in protest over unpaid bills, and the country's national assembly has approved measures to nationalize all companies providing services to the industry.

To date, state control of the industry has been restricted to production and exploration.