Exxon Mobil To Cut 14,000 Jobs As Pandemic Hit Oil Demand, Prices

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Exxon Mobil Corp said on Thursday it could cut its global workforce by about 15%, including deep white-collar staff reductions in the United States, as the COVID-19 pandemic batters energy demand and prices.

Exxon and other oil producers have been slashing costs due to a collapse in oil demand and ill-timed bets on new projects. The top U.S. oil company earlier outlined more than $10 billion in budget cuts this year.

“The impact of COVID-19 on the demand for Exxon Mobil’s products has increased the urgency of the ongoing efficiency work,” the company said in a statement.

An estimated 14,000 employees globally, or 15%, could lose jobs, including contractors, spokesman Casey Norton said. The figure will include loses from restructurings, retirements and performance-based exits. Exxon had about 88,300 workers, including 13,300 contractors, at the end of last year.

The company is not targeting a fixed number of jobs but does expect the result of its ongoing business review to eliminate about 15% of its current staffing.

Exxon, which has struggled in recent years to regain footing after misplaced bets on shale gas and Russia exploration, lost nearly $1.7 billion in the first six months of the year. It is expected to report a record-setting third straight quarterly loss on Friday, and its third-quarter loss could reach $1.19 billion, according to Refinitiv IBES.

Exxon said the 1,900 U.S. job cuts will come mainly from its Houston-area campus, the headquarters for its U.S. oil and gas businesses.

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Earlier this month, Exxon said it would cut 1,600 jobs in Europe. It has announced cuts in Australia.

Exxon shares were trading 4% higher at $32.85 on Thursday.

Prior to the pandemic, Chief Executive Darren Woods pursued an ambitious spending plan to boost oil output in the belief a growing global middle class would demand more of its products.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc also have outlined up to 15% workforce cuts. Chevron Corp’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.

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