Baker Hughes suspends Iraqi operations after local protest

HOUSTON — Baker Hughes has suspended operations in Iraq after local residents protested at one of its facilities on Saturday, the company said Monday.

The Houston-based oil field services company said no one was injured during the protest.

There was some damage to the Basrah, Iraq facility, which houses all of the company’s employees and equipment in Iraq, Baker Hughes spokesman Eric Holcomb said. He said the company does not know exactly why the incident happened and there is no information currently about exactly what happened during the protest.

The facility has been secured, but the incident did cause “a significant disruption of business,” the company said.

Baker Hughes said it is investigating the incident and will wait until the situation has stabilized before it resumes operations.

“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,” said Martin Craighead, Baker Hughes’ chairman and chief executive, in a written statement.

Earlier this year, the company attributed increased Middle East revenue last year in part to new operations contracts and increased upstream chemicals activities in Iraq, according to regulatory filings. The company’s famous rig count included Iraq last year for the first time since 1990.