Halliburton cut 6,000 jobs in the first quarter

Houston-based Halliburton said Friday it cut 6,000 jobs worldwide in the first three months of the year as its revenues dipped 40 percent from last year.

Halliburton, which was supposed to release its quarterly earnings Monday, opted to delay its earnings call until May 3 because its pending acquisition of Houston-based Baker Hughes is mired in litigation with the Justice Department. Halliburton instead opted to release an operations update at the end of business on Friday.

Halliburton and Baker Hughes had a set an April 30 deadline by which to receive regulatory approvals or terminate the deal. However, Halliburton pledged to fight the federal lawsuit after it was recently filed. The Justice Department believes the merger would create an unfair duopoly in the energy services sector between Halliburton and the nation’s largest services company, Schlumberger.

Halliburton’s job-cutting announcement comes at the end of the same day Schlumberger said it eliminated 8,000 jobs in the first quarter.

“Life has changed in the energy industry, especially in North America, and over the past several quarters we have taken the steps to adapt to that fact,” said Halliburton Chairman and CEO Dave Lesar in a prepared statement. “Operators globally are under immense pressure, and many of our North America customers are fighting to maintain some value for their shareholders. Our goal is to work with those customers to get through these tough times.”

Halliburton has now cut about 33,000 jobs since late 2014 — more than one-third of its global workforce — including 4,000 in the fourth quarter of last year.

Lesar noted the major cutbacks that oil and gas exploration and production companies also are making.

“While these were necessary actions, it clearly will result in (oil) production declines in the back half of 2016,” Lesar added. “But even when operators feel better about the markets, they will still face issues of balance sheet repair and we believe they will be cautious in adding rigs back.”

Halliburton reported first-quarter revenues of $4.2 billion, down from $7.05 billion during the same period last year. North American operations dipped from $3.5 billion down to $1.8 billion.

Halliburton President Jeff Miller said the North American market suffers the most as the oil rig count plummets.

“What we are experiencing today is far beyond headwinds; it is unsustainable,” Miller added. “My definition of an unsustainable market is one where all service companies are losing money in North America, which is where we are now.”

Miller said Halliburton will record a $2.1 billion after-tax impairment charge in the first cover to account for restructuring and employee severance costs.