Nov 11 U.S. oilfield services company Baker
Hughes Inc said on Monday it has suspended operations in
Iraq following a weekend protest at a facility near the southern
town of Basra.
Baker Hughes said it had issued force majeure notices to its
customers "due to the significant disruption of business",
although there were no injuries from the incident on Saturday.
"While we investigate this incident and until the work
environment has stabilized, we are halting activities in Iraq,"
Martin Craighead, Baker Hughes chief executive said in a
"We hope to resolve this issue in a timely manner and resume
operations in support of our customers and the country of Iraq,
as soon as it is safe to do so."
Angry Shi'ite Muslim workers and tribesmen early on Monday
wrecked offices at a Schlumberger Ltd drilling site in
Rumaila North, also in the Basra region, accusing a foreign
security adviser of insulting their religion.
Oil officials said Schlumberger had suspended its operations
in response to the row, which came after the adviser reportedly
tore down a banner portraying Imam Hussein, whose death 1,000
years ago is being commemorated by Shi'ites.
It was not clear if the conflict at the Schlumberger site
was related to Baker Hughes' suspension of operations and Baker
Hughes spokeswoman Christine Mathers told Reuters late on Monday
that it is too early to tell if there is any connection.
"Right now or focus is on the security of our people. We are
working with local authorities and hope to resume work on behalf
of our customers and Iraq as soon as safe," Mathers said.
In its last annual filing with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission, Baker Hughes said it held integrated
operations contracts in Iraq. In May, the company said it
expected its operations there to expand to 11 rigs.