Job losses continue across Texas as services firms cut back

Oilfield-services companies reeling from the worst downturn in years continued hemorrhaging jobs this week as three providers announced plans to chop nearly 400 jobs in Houston and across the state amid an oil rout that shows no signs of abating.

Cameron International said it plans to substantially curtail operations at its Thomas Road facility in Northwest Houston as the Houston-based oil tool maker braces for tougher times ahead. The company plans to slash 75 jobs from the plant starting in mid-January as part of a broader cost-cutting campaign to prepare Cameron for a longer-than-expected slump in oil prices and continued pullback in drilling and exploration activity.

Laid-off workers will be offered severance packages, the company told state workforce regulators in a letter Thursday. The company also plans to help affected employees find new jobs, Cameron told the Texas Workforce Commission.

Cameron’s revenue tumbled to $2.2 billion in the third quarter, from $2.7 billion, amid weaker demand for all of its products and services. The company had been able to offset the loss by paring its budget and improving operations, but CEO Scott Rowe warned in a recent statement to investors that the company was planning additional cost reductions in light of the prolonged downturn.

Another services provider, Trelleborg Offshore, also plans to dramatically reduce its workforce, chopping 200 employees and temporary workers at its two Houston offices on Rankin Road and West Hardy Road. The cuts represent about half the 416 people who work at those two locations.

The company manufactures polymers and foams used by the offshore industry in harsh environments to insulate and protect offshore infrastructure and equipment. Trelleborg issued its first notices to Houston employees targeted for layoff on Nov. 4 and plans to continue terminating employees through January, the company told the Texas Workforce Commission.

Houston-based oilfield-equipment supplier National Oilwell Varco also announced plans to shed 120 employees as it shutters a plant in San Angelo in mid-to-late January. The announcement comes after NOV revealed that its profits fell 78 percent in the third quarter as demand diminished for the rig parts, oilfield equipment and other tools the company provides. CEO Clay Williams told investors earlier this month the company will continue slashing costs wherever possible, including shuttering plants.

The planned job losses add to a growing list of oil-related layoffs happening across the state as months of anemic oil prices continue to wreak havoc on the Texas workforce. Murky and delayed government data make it difficult to pinpoint precisely how many people have lost their jobs during the downturn, but petroleum economist Karr Ingham recently said the toll could be as high as 56,000.

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