Baker Hughes sheds another 2,100 jobs in the third quarter

Baker Hughes trimmed another 2,100 jobs from its payroll in the third quarter amid ongoing tough times in the U.S. oil patch that caused the Houston-based oil field services company to swing to a $159 million loss.

The most recent round of job cuts means the Houston-based oil field services company, which is preparing to fuse with rival firm Halliburton, has slashed more than 16,000 jobs across the world since the start of the year, according to the company’s quarterly filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. That’s about one in every four Baker Hughes employees worldwide.

The job cuts forced Baker Hughes to record a $70 million charge, the company said in its quarterly release on Wednesday.

“We remain focused on proactively managing our cost structure, efficiently reducing our working capital, and strategically targeting revenue opportunities to continue to increase profitability, generate positive cash flow, and maintain a strong balance sheet,” CEO Martin Craighead said in a statement Wednesday.

Amid a tougher than expected third quarter, Baker Hughes saw its earnings slip to a net loss of 36 cents per share during the three-month period ending Sept. 30. That’s down from a profit of $375 million, or 86 cents per share, during the same period a year ago.

Revenue fell from $6.25 billion to $3.8 billion, primarily driven by a 9 percent sequential slump in North American revenue, where Baker Hughes coped with waning interest in its stimulation, drilling services and completions products in the U.S. oil patch, coupled with lower pricing and “an unfavorable mix of activity in the Gulf of Mexico.”

As oil companies look to save money by throttling back their hunt for hydrocarbons, Baker Hughes has seen their interest shift from exploration and development projects to projects focused on wrangling as much oil and gas as possible from a well.

The company has noted stronger interest for its upstream and refinery chemicals designed to get the most out of existing wells and boost ultimate recovery, Craighead said.

Still, he said, the coming months will be challenging. The company said it expects oil field activity to drop further for the rest of the year. Baker Hughes also predicts continued pressure from oil companies to offer deeper discounts, but the company does not expect it to offset with the declines with its seasonal year-end product sales.