Halliburton lays off 1,000 employees in Eastern Hemisphere

HOUSTON — Oil field giant Halliburton said Thursday it is laying off about 1,000 employees across multiple regions in the Eastern Hemisphere, effective immediately, a day after a company executive said it expects a $75 million restructuring charge in the fourth quarter.

The announcement comes as oil prices have plummeted in recent months. U.S. benchmark crude West Texas Intermediate fell below $60 for the first time in five years on Thursday.

“The decision to eliminate jobs is never easy,” Halliburton spokeswoman Emily Mir said in an emailed statement. “Our talented workforce is the foundation of everything we accomplish, and we place the highest value on the commitment and hard work that our employees dedicate to building our company. Yet, we believe these job eliminations are necessary in order to work through this market environment.”

Mir added the layoffs were unrelated to Halliburton’s proposed $35 billion acquisition of Houston-based oil field services firm Baker Hughes.

Halliburton chief financial officer Mark McCollum had told investors Wednesday that as oil prices have fallen, the Middle East “seems to be the nexus of our current woes in terms of dropping prices and production,” and that in the Eastern Hemisphere, “we are starting to see headwinds in the Europe, Africa and Caspian regions.”

McCollum said the company expects $75 million in restructuring charges, which are one-time costs related to severance pay and other items, in the fourth quarter related to staff cuts and reduction of some operational activity.

He said the impact of falling crude prices has impacted the company more in international markets than in North America.

On Wednesday, BP executives told investors the company expects $1 billion in restructuring charges over the next year.  Oil field service company Schlumberger had said last week it expects $200 million in charges related to layoffs associated with retiring some seismic vessels.

Halliburton has about 30,000 employees across the Eastern Hemisphere, out of approximately 80,000 globally.