Chevron cutting 655 Houston jobs amid oil bust

HOUSTON – Chevron Corp. is planning to shed 655 jobs in Houston soon as part of a broader payroll cut across its upstream division announced last October, the latest round of industry layoffs amid a two-thirds drop in crude prices since mid-2014.

The No. 2 U.S. oil company confirmed the cuts Thursday and has previously said it would cut its workforce by 4,000 this year, on top of last year’s reduction of 3,000. Those 7,000 jobs made up about 10 percent of the oil major’s workforce at the end of 2014.

“In light of the current market environment, Chevron continues to take action by revising organizational structures, increasing efficiencies and reducing expenses,” Chevron spokesman Cam Van Ast said in an emailed statement, confirming the 655 local job cuts.

Chevron said it would pay laid-off employees at least six weeks transition pay, severance and provide them career transition services. The job cuts coincide with a 24-percent reduction in Chevron’s investment budget this year to $26.6 billion, as it copes with cheap oil.

In the United States, the oil industry lost some 70,000 jobs last year, according to the Federal Reserve. Globally, companies have cut more than 320,000 positions since the downturn began, according to Houston consultancy Graves & Co., which has tracked the industry reductions.