Transocean and Pioneer cut hundreds of jobs

Transocean said it will terminate up to 190 jobs Gulf of Mexico jobs in February as it shelves two of its drill ships operating in the Gulf, according to layoff notices filed with the Texas Workforce Commission.

Likewise, Houston-based TMK IPSCO pipe manufacturer said it’s eliminating 112 jobs in April at its Baytown plant as part of what the company is calling a “temporary mass layoff.”

Farther southwest in Victoria, Pioneer Natural Resources said its cutting 148 jobs in April as Pioneer pulls out of the once-booming Eagle Ford shale for now.

The energy sector is continuing to shed jobs by the hundreds and thousands early this year in a world of oil priced at roughly $30 a barrel as fears of a “lower for longer” scenario extend into 2017 and potentially beyond.

Transocean, for instance, is terminating 40 to 50 jobs on its “Deepwater Champion” drill ship that’s been starved for business of late. A larger group of 130 to 140 jobs will end as Transocean moors its “Discoverer Deep Seas” drill ship. Arkansas-based Murphy Oil just canceled its contract for the “Discoverer Deep Seas.”

Irving-based Pioneer surprised some analysts last week when the company announced it is largely withdrawing from Texas’ Eagle Ford and maintaining its activity mostly in the Permian Basin. Pioneer is taking six Eagle Ford rigs offline. As such, Pioneer is discontinuing its pumping services operations in Victoria.

While 148 jobs will be lost, Pioneer said 101 of those employees will receive the opportunity to transfer to Midland or elsewhere.

TMK IPSCO, which is a subsidiary of Russia-based TMK, is hoping some of its 112 Baytown job cuts will prove temporary.

“IPSCO remains hopeful that it will be able to rescind this notice for some affected employees ad/or recall employees subsequent to this layoff if demand for its products and services increases sufficiently,” wrote Joel Mastervich, TMP IPSCO senior vice president and chief operating officer.