FILE PHOTO: Halliburton’s campus in Houston, Texas, U.S. May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Daniel Kramer

(Reuters) – Oilfield services provider Halliburton Co has reduced its workforce in Venezuela as a result of U.S. sanctions limiting its operations in the crisis-stricken OPEC nation, a spokeswoman for the company said on Wednesday.

Washington in April limited the activities Halliburton – as well as rivals Schlumberger NV, Baker Hughes Co and Weatherford International Plc – could perform in Venezuela. The United States in 2019 sanctioned state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela as part of its push to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

Halliburton said at the time that it had halted its operations in Venezuela. On Wednesday, the spokeswoman said the company would retain a presence in the country despite the layoffs.

“Halliburton halted its primary operations in Venezuela as a result of U.S. sanctions imposed on the country. Because of this, Halliburton is reducing its Venezuelan workforce,” the spokeswoman said. “Halliburton remains committed to maintaining a presence in Venezuela.”

The spokeswoman declined to specify how many workers were being laid off, but said the company would retain some staff in Venezuela.

Halliburton, as well as most other major international oil services companies operating in Venezuela, had even before the sanctions significantly scaled back operations and written off hundreds of millions of dollars in assets and receivables due to operational issues at PDVSA, and late payments by the company.

Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York and Gary McWilliams in Houston; editing by Diane Craft

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Source; Reuters