November 22, 2018 / 12:05 PM / 24 days ago

UPDATE 1-Equatorial Guinea punishes Subsea 7 for not hiring more locals

(Updates with Subsea 7 comment)

CAPE TOWN, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Equatorial Guinea has ordered energy companies to stop doing business with oil and gas service firm Subsea 7 because the firm failed to comply with laws aimed at creating more local jobs, the oil minister said on Thursday.

An oil ministry source warned in September that Schlumberger , Subsea 7 and FMC faced bans from working in Equatorial Guinea if they did not commit to local content laws.

Gabriel Obiang Lima, minister of hydrocarbons and mines, said he was encouraged by steps taken by Schlumberger and Technip FMC to comply with the laws.

The African country has moved to enforce local content laws that have been in place since 2014. Oil companies were told in July to cancel contracts with Canadian-based CHC Helicopter .

"Companies operating in the oil sector have an obligation to work within the confines of our very flexible and pragmatic local content regulations," Obiang Lima said in a statement.

Operators ordered to stop working with Subsea 7 include Noble Energy, Exxon Mobil and Marathon Oil .

A spokeswoman for Oslo-listed Subsea 7 said the company was aware of the concerns of authorities and "will continue to take proactive steps to engage with the oil companies and government in Equatorial Guinea to ensure these local content concerns are resolved."

Obiang Lima said a compliance review of the entire sector was ongoing.

"The notice will be expanded to all service companies who are non-compliant as the review continues. Similar measures will be taken," he said. (Reporting by Wendell Roelf; editing by Richard Pullin and Susan Fenton)

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