HOUSTON – Halliburton Co., which provides well-drilling services for oil companies, is cutting 5,000 more jobs as the industry continues to struggle with slumping oil prices.
A company spokeswoman said Thursday that the latest cuts will amount to about 8 per cent of the Houston-based company’s global workforce.
Oil prices have tumbled about 70 per cent since peaking above $100 a barrel in mid-2014. That has led to less drilling activity and to widespread layoffs in the oil fields. Halliburton rival Schlumberger cut 10,000 jobs in the fourth quarter.
Benchmark U.S. crude settled at $33.07 a barrel on Thursday, up 92 cents or nearly 3 per cent.
Halliburton spokeswoman Emily Mir said the company was reducing its workforce “due to ongoing market conditions.”
Mir said the company regretted the decision, “but unfortunately we are faced with the difficult reality that reductions are necessary to work through this challenging market environment.”
When the layoffs are completed, Halliburton will have reduced its workforce by between 26,000 and 27,000 employees since the peak in 2014, she said.
Halliburton grew from 58,000 employees in 2010 to more than 80,000 during 2014. It slashed that number to 65,000 by the end of 2015, according to regulatory filings.
Halliburton declined to say where the layoffs would fall, saying that such details were competitive information. The company’s operations stretch from the U.S. through Africa and the Middle East to Asia.
Last month, CEO David Lesar said that when the company began looking to cut costs, “it started with where we work.” Halliburton consolidated facilities in more than 20 countries and closed operations in two, he said.
Lesar said that “2016 is shaping up to be one tough slog through the mud.” He said Halliburton was trying to work with the financially strongest oil companies that will do best when the industry recovers.
In November 2014, Halliburton announced that it would buy U.S. rival Baker Hughes Inc. for $34.6 billion. The companies are divesting assets as they seek approval from antitrust regulators, and Baker Hughes also has cut thousands of jobs.
Halliburton shares rose 4 cents to close at $32.50 on Thursday. They are down 4.5 per cent in 2016 and more than 25 per cent in the past year.