Kinder Morgan cuts more than 100 jobs

Houston-based Kinder Morgan Inc. is eliminating about 120 jobs as the pipeline giant adapts to the ongoing oil bust, the company confirmed Friday.

The job cuts, which include 37 Houston positions, come after Kinder Morgan reduced its shareholder dividend and project backlog in recent months in order to shrink costs and increase cash flow. Kinder Morgan will still employ about 11,750 people overall.

In a emailed statement, Kinder Morgan spokesman Richard Wheatley said the difficult decision to eliminate was made because of the company’s reduced activity levels during the downturn. He said terminated employees may be redeployed in some cases. They’re also receiving severance packages.

The oil bust has put a big dent in the value of the Houston pipeline giant. Kinder Morgan’s project backlog has shrunk since mid-2015 to about $14 billion from $22 billion.

Its stock was trading at more than $42 a share one year ago but shares sold Friday for  less than $18 a share.

The company cut its dividend by 75 percent in December to free up more cash.

However, Kinder Morgan has received some positive news on major projects of late. On Thursday, Kinder Morgan received federal approval for its $2 billion project to export liquefied natural gas from Georgia. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authorized Kinder Morgan’s Elba Liquefaction Project that will liquefy natural gas and export the product from Elba Island, which is near Savannah, Georgia.

In May, Canada’s chief energy regulatory body recommended the approval of Kinder Morgan’s $5.4 billion Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion.

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