Picture: REUTERS/JESSICA RINALDI
Picture: REUTERS/JESSICA RINALDI

Houston — ExxonMobil said on Thursday it could cut the number of global employees by 15% and would lay off about 1,900 employees in the US as the Covid-19 pandemic batters energy demand and prices.

Exxon was once the largest US publicly traded company, but has been slashing costs due to a collapse in oil demand and ill-timed bets on new oilfields and expansions. It has promised to shed more than $10bn in 2020 in project spending and cut operating expenses 15%.

An estimated 14,000 employees globally, or 15%, could lose jobs, including contractors, spokesperson Casey Norton said. The cuts would include everything from layoffs to retirements or performance-based exits.

Exxon had about 88,300 workers in 2019, including 13,300 contractors.

“We are not targeting a headcount reduction percentage,” Norton said, adding that the “end result” of its country-by-country reviews “may be close to 15% of our global workforce”.

The company lost nearly $1.7bn in the first six months of the year and is expected to post another quarterly loss on Friday.

ExxonMobil said the job cuts, part of a global reorganisation, will come mainly from its office in Houston, Texas, and will include voluntary and involuntary cuts.

“The affect of Covid-19 on the demand for ExxonMobil's products has increased the urgency of the ongoing efficiency work,” the company said in a statement.

Employees who are separated through involuntary programmes will receive severance and outplacement services.

Earlier in October it said it would cut 1,600 jobs in Europe. It has also announced cuts in Australia.

The shares were trading up 2.9% higher at $32.50 on Thursday.

Before the pandemic, CEO Darren Woods pursued an ambitious spending plan to boost oil output on a bet that a growing global middle class would demand more of its products.

Royal Dutch Shell and BP also have outlined up to 15% workforce cuts. Chevron’s planned cuts of 10%-15% would imply a reduction of between 4,500 and 6,750 jobs. It will also cut roughly another 570 positions as part of its acquisition of Noble Energy.

Reuters

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.