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Source: Reuters

UPDATE 1-Nabors shed a third of its workforce in 2009

Published: 01 Mar 2010 02:24:13 PST

* Employees 18,390 at end-2009 vs 26,912 year before

* CEO had warned of "substantial layoffs" early last year

* Baker Hughes cut 14 pct of its workforce last year (Adds Baker Hughes

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 26 - Nabors Industries Ltd, the world's largest land rig contractor, reduced its workforce by nearly a third in 2009 as a pullback in oil and gas prices led to a dramatic slump in oilfield activity.

Nabors employed 18,390 people at the end of 2009, down from 26,912 a year before, the Bermuda-based company said in a filing with U.S. financial regulators on Friday. Included in those numbers are workers employed by unconsolidated affiliates, which fell to 3,148 from 3,920, the company said.

Chief Executive Gene Isenberg had warned last February of having to make "fairly substantial" layoffs as the number of rigs drilling for oil and gas dropped sharply along with demand for energy.

The rig count has since recovered somewhat, with the latest weekly data from Baker Hughes Inc out on Friday showing North America at 1,373 -- its best reading for more than a year.

Nabors said it retired rigs and rig components with a carrying value of $69 million last year. While its 542 actively marketed land drilling rigs is up by 14 from a year ago, the number of workover and well-servicing rigs fell by 34 to 558.

Baker Hughes, a Houston-based oilfield services company, said on Friday that it had cut nearly 14 percent of its workforce in 2009, bringing it down to 34,400 as of year-end.

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