Venezuelan town orders 'temporary closure' of Baker Hughes unit -statement
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MARACAIBO, Venezuela/CARACAS, Nov 8 (Reuters) - A western Venezuela town has ordered the 'temporary closure' of the local unit of U.S. oil services company Baker Hughes Co BKR.N, the local government said in a statement on Friday, alleging that the company had failed to pay municipal taxes.
It was not immediately clear what impact the measure would have on the company's operations in the oilfields surrounding nearby Lake Maracaibo, where output has collapsed due to underinvestment by state oil company PDVSA, and more recently, U.S. sanctions meant to force out President Nicolas Maduro.
"We call on the owners of Baker Hughes to discuss the current situation and advance in a negotiation that benefits both parties," Orlando Urdaneta, the mayor of the La Canada de Urdaneta municipality in oil-rich Zulia state, said in a statement.
Urdaneta, an ally of socialist Maduro, added that rival U.S. services firm Halliburton HAL.N had "complied with its obligations." He did not say how much Baker Hughes owed in taxes.
Neither Baker Hughes nor Halliburton immediately responded to requests for comment.
La Canada de Urdaneta is home to the Petroboscan joint venture between PDVSA PDVSA.ULand Chevron Corp CVX.N, one of the most prolific oil fields in the region.
OPEC-member Venezuela produced 846,800 barrels-per-day (bpd) of crude in September, including 210,000 bpd from the Western region, according to internal PDVSA data seen by Reuters. The country produced nearly 2 million bpd as recently as 2017.
Baker Hughes, Halliburton and Chevron all maintain operations in Venezuela thanks to an exemption to U.S. sanctions on PDVSA allowing them to continue doing business with the firm through January.
(Reporting by Mariela Nava in Maracaibo and Luc Cohen in Caracas Additional reporting by Liz Hampton in Denver and Marianna Parraga in Rio de Janeiro Editing by Marguerita Choy)
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