Transocean, Atwood cut 200 offshore Gulf jobs

Transocean and Atwood Oceanics eliminated about 200 combined jobs for offshore energy workers in the Gulf of Mexico as drilling rigs are either relocated or put out of work.

Switzerland-based Transocean, which operates out of Houston, cut about 120 jobs at the end of January as its Deepwater Asgard drilling rig in the Gulf ended its work with Chevron. The rig joins dozens of other offshore Gulf rigs that are currently out of work as the bulk of new drilling activity is focused on cheaper and faster onshore shale.

Likewise, Houston’s Atwood Oceanics said it axed 86 offshore Gulf jobs as its Atwood Condor rig goes into an extended maintenance and upgrading phase. The rig eventually will move to Australia for new work where local, mostly Australian workers will be hired.

The move is at least good for the Houston company, said Atwood Chief Financial Officer Mark Smith, because it’s continuing to find work for the rig, even if it’s outside of the depressed U.S. offshore market.