Weatherford to cut 6,000 jobs in first half of 2016

HOUSTON — Weatherford International is planning to cut 6,000 jobs, or about 14 percent of its workforce, in the first half of the year in its latest bid to shield itself from the oil downturn.

The oil field service company said it lost $1.2 billion in profits during the fourth quarter and its revenue sank 46 percent to $2 billion, as demand for oil equipment and service crews continued to diminish.

The job cuts will have brought the company’s workforce down by 20,000 since the oil-market crash began in 2014, when it had about 56,000 employees. In addition to the layoffs, Weatherford said it will close nine manufacturing facilities. Last year, the company shuttered 20 facilities.

In a written statement, Weatherford CEO Bernard Duroc-Danner said he believes oil prices will start to respond to a gradual realignment of oil supply and global demand following deep cuts in oil-company capital expenditures.

“Regardless, we have geared the company and will increasingly do so for a prolonged period of very low activity,” Duroc-Danner said. “We are ready for as protracted a downcycle as markets will dictate.”

Weatherford posted a net loss of $1.2 billion, or $1.54 a share, in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared with a loss of $475 million, or 61 cents a share, in the same period the year before. Its North American sales dropped the most, by 60 percent to $699 million.