Two companies announce 245 layoffs in the Houston area

The crude bust has claimed another 245 jobs in the Houston area, with two companies announcing plans to curtail operations amid waning demand for offshore drilling and oil and gas equipment.

Sulzer Pumps Inc. will permanently shutter its Brookshire plant — where it manufactures and tests vertical pumps used in power, water and oil and gas industries — and consolidate operations at a plant in Portland, Oregon, the company told the Texas Workforce Commission last week.

Related: Worldwide job losses hit another high

In addition to the manufacturing plant, the Koomey Road facility in Brookshire also houses the pumps-equipment headquarters for Sulzer’s oil and gas business unit. That office will be moved to another location in Houston.

The closure will affect 115 employees who work in the office and at the plant, including manufacturing employees and office workers. Of those targeted for layoff, 29 will be offered the chance to transfer to Portland, the company said.

The factory is one of three in the United States for Sulzer, a Swiss industrial engineering and manufacturing firm. The first round of layoffs will start Jan. 29, Sulzer said in its letter to the Texas Workforce Commission. The plant will officially close March 31.

Employees were already notified about the closure in mid-October, Sulzer Pumps told state regulators.

Another 120 to 130 employees working for Noble Corp. have also been targeted for job cuts following a decision by the Swiss contract driller to stack a semi-submersible rig located in the Gulf of Mexico, the company wrote in a letter to state regulators last week.

All affected employees work on the Jim Day, which reports to Noble’s offices on South Dairy Ashford. The company said it plans to maintain some of its Jim Day employees at its stacking location and could call some employees to return to work if Noble is able to secure a new contract for the offshore rig. But with no immediate work in sight, the layoffs are likely permanent, the company wrote.

Related: More Texas jobs on the chopping block

Job losses worldwide have now topped 233,000 since crude prices began tanking last year and could grow to more than 250,000 by the year’s end, according to the latest estimates from energy recruiter Swift Worldwide Resources.

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