Noble Energy cuts 60 jobs, mostly in Houston

Noble Energy recently cut 60 jobs, mostly in Houston, reducing staff levels in exploration and geoscience.

The job cuts come as the Houston driller shifts resources to its most lucrative offshore exploration efforts and tries to increase the value of its onshore U.S. oil business. The job cuts included support staff, Noble spokeswoman Reba Reid said Wednesday.

The company cut 410 jobs last year.

Noble also said 70 percent of its upstream investment budget next year will go toward boosting drilling in the DJ Basin in Colorado, the Delaware Basin in West Texas and the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas. The company believes its oil and gas production could triple in the Texas fields to as much as 195,000 barrels a day by 2020.

Another quarter of its capital budget is set for the Mediterranean Sea, where it is drilling off the coast of Israel.

The cuts underscore the oil industry’s plight as drillers shift focus to their most profitable oil fields after crude prices were halved since summer 2014. Other companies have made similar sacrifices.

On Wednesday, BP and Royal Dutch Shell confirmed they’re also planning more job cuts. BP will ax 50 to 80 non-union jobs at its Whiting Refinery in Indiana, spokesman Michael Abendhoff said.

Shell said it may close its finance operations office in Glasgow, Scotland, consolidating its financial unit into a smaller number of offices. The closure, which would move operations to other offices over 15 months, would mean a “small overall reduction” in staff levels in the financial unit.

“For Shell to remain competitive, difficult choices continue to have to be made to improve efficiency and value for money across all of our businesses and functions,” the company said.