Occidental starts layoffs in the Permian

More layoffs are coming in the oil patch in West Texas. Occidental Petroleum started a broad layoff move this week, one affecting workers from Denver to Houston.

The company is making the layoffs as it attempts to cut costs in the aftermath of its $38 billion acquisition of Anadarko Petroleum last year. Occidental has been offering voluntary employee buyouts for months from its headquarters in Houston to its entire Africa portfolio. But now, the company has decided it’s time to start laying off workers, according to an internal email from Oxy Chief Executive Vicki Hollub as reported by the Houston Chronicle.

“While these (voluntary) programs have been successful and contributed significantly to our goals, we have determined that additional staff reductions are necessary,” Hollub stated. “A reduction in force program, based on business necessity by job, is being initiated with individual communications and exit dates.”

The company did not immediately reveal job reduction numbers or goals but employees this week cited cutbacks occurring at Oxy’s Greenway Plaza headquarters in Houston and its large hub in Denver, including new postings from workers on the website TheLayoff.com.

All of the new layoffs could be announced by the end of this week, Hollub said in the email.

“Staff reductions are always difficult and we feel for those employees and their families who will be affected,” Hollub added. “However, for the long-term success of the company, we must take appropriate action to compete in our transforming industry and achieve the synergies announced at the time of the merger.”

She said Oxy would not have any layoffs within its petrochemical arm, called OxyChem, or in the Gulf of Mexico division that was acquired from Anadarko. And few jobs will be cut internationally.

That would make Texas and Colorado the most exposed to job reductions.

In a prepared statement Wednesday, Oxy spokeswoman Melissa Schoeb said Oxy’s integration team worked for months to identify the positions needed to successfully and safely operate its business while still achieving its cost reduction and synergy goals.

“We reduced the workforce significantly with voluntary separation packages, and to attain the integration goals, we implemented a non-voluntary program to further reduce staffing,” Schoeb said. “We recognize this will have an impact on our employees and will do what we can to provide assistance during through the process.”

Source:  Houston Chronicle and Western Energy News