Weatherford International is one of the largest multinational oil and gas service companies. Until recently, they were also one of the 'big five' fracking companies. They sold their US fracturing assets to Schlumberger in January 2018 for $430 million in cash.
As with all of our NatResPro Layoff posts, we’ll go over the main news reports and company announcements for the last few years, which covers the recent crash. This introduction will bring you up to date, and then below we can post job cut news and rumours as they develop.
Weatherford grew fast in the 2000‘s but have had a tough time for at least six years with losses, negative surprises, and continued complaints from investors. Many analysts say that the company can’t make money at $30,$50 or $100 Bbl (Roughly the trading range for oil between 2014 and 2018). During the same period, global employee numbers dropped by more than half (67,000 - 29,500).
January 2014:7000 job cuts announced. Fourth quarter earnings of 2013 were going to miss targets due to disruptions in the Middle East, and severe weather in North America.
January 2015:The COO role gets axed due to a 60% oil price drop. Not the person- the position which is fairly unusual. A cynical (observant) person would say that the top executives are the last to suffer in a downturn and sometimes get bigger bonuses after cutting costs.
February 2015: Job cuts due to the slump: 8,000 which was around 15% of global workforce at the time. The majority of the cuts were in the western hemisphere.
April 2015: Company target for near-term headcount reductions is upped to 10,000.
July 2015: The number of planned job losses were re-targeted at 11,000.
October 2015: 3000 additional layoffs announced, to take place at the end of the year. This put the 2015 total at 14,000.
February 2016: 6000 job cuts announced. They were to all take place in the first half of 2016, and the reason given was the continued business challenges as a result of the oil price crash.
July 2016: Weatherford announced that it plans to axe 147 employees in August. A newsworthy number because these employees were all based in Buckhannon, Western Virginia. The local population is small (6000), so this number of people losing jobs had more of an impact.
February 2017: 3000 worldwide job cuts were announced, in conjunction with different closures of facilities. The closures were focussed on is US fracturing and middle east drilling sections.
At this time, the new Weatherford interim Chief Executive Krishna Shivram said “Weatherford will reinvent itself and thrive,” and “For Weatherford, being predictable and boring is a damn good thing.” The constant losses and job cuts started to get predictable after a few years, but certainly couldn’t be described as boring for the people and families affected.