Oil firms cut hundreds of jobs in Texas and New Mexico as prices crash


Apache Corp and several US oil and gas companies plan to lay off hundreds of workers, according to state filings, adding to a 3,500-person furlough that oilfield giant Halliburton announced this week as the price of oil plunged, reports agencies. 

Apache said it would cut 85 people in its Midland office, while oilfield firm FTS International Services said it would lay off 35 workers in Fort Worth and 85 workers in Hobbs, New Mexico.

Tenaris SA said it will cut 223 Baytown workers from its steel pipe manufacturer IPSCO Koppel Tubulars, a business it recently acquired, the filings said. That cut is part of a 900-person workforce reduction across the United States as a result of lower oil prices.

Oil prices fell to their lowest level in 18 years this week amid a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia and as the spread of the coronavirus sapped demand. On Friday, US crude futures were on track for their largest weekly decline since 2008, settling below $23 a barrel.

Prior to the oil price crash, Apache already had planned a 10 per cent to 15 per cent average reduction in its global workforce. In January, the Houston-based firm said it would close its San Antonio, Texas office, affecting 272 jobs as it curtails drilling in the Alpine High field in a remote corner of the Permian Basin. Apache did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It started layoffs in Midland on Wednesday, according to a letter to the state.

Tenaris will begin its layoffs on April 17, it told the state. The company said the cuts were "due to unforeseeable business circumstances" and pointed to coronavirus and the price war. Halliburton earlier this week said it would furlough 3,500 workers for two months to handle the steep decline in oil prices.