COLUMN-Mass layoffs complicate oil industry's long-term plans: Kemp

Fri Feb 13, 2015 7:53am EST
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(John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own)

By John Kemp

LONDON Feb 13 (Reuters) - "This is the really crappy part of the job, and this is what I hate about this industry frankly," the chief executive of oilfield services company Baker Hughes complained as he announced it would lay off 7,000 employees.

Baker Hughes is cutting jobs in response to slumping prices and a downturn in drilling activity.

But the company's obviously frustrated chief acknowledged that "this is the industry, and it's throwing us another one of these downturns, and we're going to be good stewards of our business and do the right thing."

So the company will cuts costs, he told investors in a conference call on January 20 to discuss the firm's fourth-quarter earnings and outlook for 2015.

More than 100,000 layoffs have been announced across the industry worldwide since prices began to slide last summer, according to a tally kept by Bloomberg.

In recent weeks other major service companies have announced job reductions. Halliburton announced it will cut 6,400 jobs (8 percent of its global workforce) while Schlumberger will eliminate 9,000 positions (around 7 percent of its workforce).

Precision Drilling, one of the largest rig contractors in North America, has idled more than 50 of the 250 rigs it had working this time last year, leaving more than 1,000 skilled operators out of work, the company said on Thursday.   Continued...