Weatherford cuts 1,000 jobs, loses $549 million in fourth quarter

Weatherford International cut another 1,000 jobs in the fourth quarter as it idled its U.S. hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, business.

Financially struggling Weatherford opted to scale back in the quarter in a move seen largely as temporarily bowing out against competitor Halliburton’s dominating U.S. fracking position. The job reductions — through layoffs or attrition — come after Weatherford already had cut 8,000 jobs in the first nine months of 2016 in preparation of a slow oil price rebound.

The moves come after longtime Weatherford chairman and chief executive Bernard Duroc-Danner abruptly resigned in November. Chief Financial Officer Krishna Shivram stepped into the CEO role.

Weatherford lost $549 million in the fourth quarter, but that’s still an improvement from a $1.15 billion loss during the final quarter of 2015, as well as a big $1.78 billion loss in the third quarter of last year.

Shirvam noted Weatherford’s revenues grew 4 percent from the third quarter even with the idling of the pressure pumping business, which includes fracking.

“After a protracted period of relentless cost structure transformation, implementation of disciplined financial metrics and the overall realignment of our company, Weatherford is now well positioned with a streamlined portfolio to make material progress in operating results and to deleverage our balance sheet,” Shivram said in a prepared statement.