Layoffs, furloughs, and budget cuts: We're tracking how 20 energy giants from Shell to Schlumberger have responded to the historic oil market meltdown

  • The coronavirus pandemic crippled global oil demand, causing the price to collapse by more than 70% in April, with some futures going negative for the first time in history.
  • Most oil and gas giants have already slashed capital spending and dividends, laid off or furloughed staff, and changed their production targets.
  • Business Insider is tracking how 20 top companies are responding to the oil price shock and will update this story as news breaks. 
  • Visit Markets Insider to view the latest on oil prices.

Oil markets have started to stabilize after plunging to historic lows earlier this spring.

But the industry that built itself around this volatile commodity — which is still down in value about 35%, relative to the start of the year — continues to suffer. 

In a remarkable move, supermajor Royal Dutch Shell cut its dividend for the first time since World War II in late April. Equinor did the same just days before.

Every major oil company has slashed its capital spending program — in some cases, by a staggering $10 billion. At least two major oil-and-gas companies have gone bankrupt including Chesapeake Energy.  

Employees are feeling it, too. BP is cutting 10,000 workers, while oilfield services giant Schlumberger is laying off 21,000 workers. 

Read more: Leaked documents reveal Exxon changed its employee-ranking system amid the coronavirus pandemic, putting more workers at risk of getting cut

Altogether, more than a million oilfield service jobs are likely to be cut this year, according to the energy consulting firm Rystad Energy.

More layoffs are likely on the horizon, as are further spending cuts. Business Insider is keeping track of them all here for 20 of the world's top oil companies.

Have you been laid off by an oil company? Are we missing any information? Please contact us at [email protected] or through the secure message app Signal at (646) 768-1657. 

Whiting Petroleum was the first major oil company to file for bankruptcy.

What it is: A Colorado-based oil and gas exploration and production company with large projects in North Dakota and Colorado. 

Employment changes: No layoffs or furloughs have been reported so far. 

Spending cuts: On April 1, the company filed for bankruptcy protection in Houston, "touting a proposed settlement with creditors to eliminate $2.2 billion in debt in return for a 97% equity stake," the Wall Street Journal reports. The move follows an announcement the company made in March that it's slashing its capital budget by 30%, down to $400 million to $435 million, for 2020. 

Production cuts: "The capital reduction is projected to have a moderate impact on full-year 2020 total production and oil production," the company said in March, though it didn't specify what that means in barrels. 

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Oklahoma's Devon Energy is cutting its capital spending budget in half.

What it is: A large Oklahoma-based company focused on oil and gas exploration and production. 

Employment changes: No layoffs or furloughs have been reported so far. 

Spending cuts: Devon is slashing its 2020 capital investment by about 45%, or about $800 million, down to a budget of about $1 billion, according to a public statement. 

Production cuts: The company cut its 2020 forecast to between 300,000 to 319,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from 328,000 to 339,000 barrels, Reuters reports. 

Apache has laid off at least 85 people and cut its quarterly dividend by 90%.

What it is: A large oil and gas exploration and production company, headquartered in Houston, Texas. 

Employment changes: Apache has laid off at least 85 people in Midland, Texas, state filings show. "We are lowering our Permian rig count to zero and focusing capital elsewhere in our portfolio and, as a result, have made the difficult decision to further reduce staff," Apache said in a statement. "We are working to support affected employees."

Spending cuts: Apache is cutting its upstream capital budget by more than half, down to $1.1 billion, according to a public statement. The oil and gas exploration company is also slashing its quarterly dividend by 90% — from $0.25 to $0.025 per share. 

Production cuts: Apache is reducing activity in Egypt and the North Sea and eliminating all drilling and completion activity in the US, according to a public statement. 

Have you or an acquaintance been laid off by an oil company? Please contact us at [email protected] or through the secure message app Signal at (646) 768-1657. 

Chesapeake Energy is the highest-profile oil-and-gas company to file for bankruptcy amid the downturn.

What it is: An oil and gas exploration company headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, known for its role in helping the US become a net natural gas exporter. 

Employment changes: The company laid off at least 200 employees in Oklahoma in April, Reuters reports. 

Spending cuts: On June 28, Chesapeake filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, becoming the largest oil and gas company to file amid the oil price downturn, Reuters reports. Back in late February, Chesapeake reduced its 2020 capex by 30% down to between $1.3 billion and $1.6 billion, per a company press release. 

Production cuts: In February, the company said "oil production will remain relatively flat year over year, while total production is projected to decrease as gas volumes decline" in the press release.

Continental Resources will cut production by almost 150,000 barrels per day in May and June, analysts say.

What it is: An oil and gas exploration and production company, and the largest leaseholder in the Bakken oilfield of North Dakota and Montana. 

Employment changes: The company has not reported any layoffs or furloughs but it is shrinking its rig count, which could result in changes to its workforce.

Spending cuts: The company said it would slash capital spending by more than 50%, down to $1.2 billion from an original planned $2.7 billion. Continental Resources is also suspending its quarterly dividend. 

Production cuts: Production will be down almost 70,000 barrels per day in April and nearly 150,000 barrels per day in May and June, according to a Rystad Energy analysis. "Global crude oil and product demand is estimated to have been impacted by 30% due to COVID-19," Bill Berry, Continental's chief executive, said on April 7. "Accordingly, we are reducing our production for April and May 2020 in a similar range."

Diamondback Energy is cutting production by as much as 15% in May.

What it is: A Midland-based oil and gas exploration and production company operating in the Permian Basin. 

Employment changes: No layoffs or furloughs have been reported so far. 

Spending cuts: Diamondback cut its 2020 capital budget by more than 40%, or $1.2 billion, down to between $1.5 billion and $1.9 billion, and it's "prepared to decrease its budget further should commodity prices remain weak," the company said in a public statement. 

Production cuts: Diamondback said it would curtail production by as much as 15% in May in "areas where the company can manage production economically and without the addition of material operating expense."  

Halliburton laid off almost 2,700 workers across three states.

What it does: A large oilfield service and product company, headquartered in Houston, Texas. 

Employment changes: Halliburton has laid off almost 2,700 employees across Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado, Business Insider previously reported. The recent layoffs are in addition to a 60-day furlough program that began in March and ended on May 4. 

Spending cuts: The company cut capital spending for 2020 in half, down to about $800 million, according to a public statement. 

Read more: Oil giant Halliburton laid off almost 2,700 workers across 3 states amid the 'most severe' downturn in a generation, filings show

 

 

Baker Hughes said it would write down $15 billion in assets.

What it does: One of the world's largest oilfield services companies, based in Houston. Baker Hughes is known for its widely cited rig-count data, which tallies the total number of oil rigs in operation in the US and elsewhere.

Employment changes: Baker Hughes laid off more than 230 people in Oklahoma, the Houston Chronicle reported in April. That same month, the Houston Business Journal reported that the company was closing a plant in Houston that would affect more than 180 workers, and Alaska Public Media reported that it was cutting 63 workers in Alaska.

Spending cuts: The company said in April that it would cut capital spending for 2020 by more than 20%, down to about $780 million, from close to $1 billion in 2019. That month the company also said it expects to write down the value of its assets by $15 billion.

Occidental Petroleum has cut its budget three times since March.

What it is: Occidental is a large oil and gas exploration and production company, and "the leading producer and largest acreage holder in the Permian Basin," according to its website. 

Employment changes: Occidental, or Oxy, said it will significantly reduce executive salaries. "Some of Occidental's US workers will have their pay cut by 30%," while others will see smaller cuts, Reuters reported in late March. The oil giant also cut CEO Vicki Hollub's pay by more than 80%, and suspended bonuses and hiring, according to the Houston Chronicle. 

Spending cuts: Oxy is cutting its 2020 capital spending program by more than 50% to between $2.4 billion and $2.6 billion, down from $5.3 billion, the company said in a public statement. In March, the company also cut its quarterly dividend by about 85%, from $0.79 a share to $0.11.

Schlumberger is cutting 21,000 jobs.

What it is: The largest oilfield services company in the world. 

Employment changes: Schlumberger is cutting 21,000 jobs, equal to roughly one-quarter of its entire workforce. The company will pay more than $1 billion in severance benefits, largely during the second half of the year, the company said. 

Spending cuts: Schlumberger lost $3.43 billion in the second quarter. Earlier this year, the company said it would cut capital investment by 30%, relative to last year, down to $1.8 billion. Schlumberger also reduced its quarterly dividend by 75%, down to $0.125 per share. 

Production cuts: "The company expects a rapid reduction in active drilling and hydraulic fracturing activity, estimating the number of rigs in operation could fall to levels last seen during the 2016 downturn," Reuters reported in March. 

Read more: 'I wish you the best of success': A leaked document reveals that oil giant Schlumberger told some workers about wage cuts using a template for promotions

EOG Resources cut capital spending for the year by almost a half.

What it is: A large oil and gas exploration and production company, based in Houston. 

Employment changes: No staff layoffs or furloughs have been reported so far. 

Spending cuts: EOG said it's shrinking capital spending for 2020 by 46%, down to between $3.3 billion and $3.7 billion.

Production cuts: The Houston-based company plans to produce about 390,000 barrels of crude per day in 2020, down 15% relative to last year. It will bring fewer than 500 wells into production over the year, "compared with the original forecast of 800 net wells," the company said in a statement. 

 

Downstream giant Phillips 66 slashed capital spending by $700 million.

What it is: A spinout of the oil giant ConocoPhillips focused on midstream and downstream products, such as gasoline and petrochemicals, headquartered in Houston. 

Employment changes: No layoffs or furloughs have been reported so far. 

Spending cuts: Phillips 66 is slashing consolidated capital spending by $700 million, down to $3.1 billion, for 2020, it said in March. The company is also cutting operating and administrative expenses by an additional $500 million for the year. 

Production cuts: The Houston-based firm said it would defer several projects including the Red Oak Pipeline and the Liberty Pipeline, which is expected to deliver crude oil from the Rocky Mountains and Bakken oilfield to Cushing, Oklahoma, a major trading hub. 

 

ConocoPhillips is cutting production by about 460,000 barrels of oil per day in June.

What it is: One of the largest oil and gas exploration and production companies in the world, also based in Houston. 

Workplace changes: No layoffs or furloughs have been reported so far. 

Spending cuts: ConocoPhillips is cutting planned capital spending for 2020 by $2.3 billion, or about 35%, the company said in a public statement. The company is also slashing operating expenses by about $600,000. 

Production cuts: The Houston-based firm expects to pare back May production by 265,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) and June production by about 460,000 bpd, per a public statement. "Future voluntary curtailment decisions across our areas of operations will be made on a month-by-month basis," the company said. 

Equinor was the first oil major to slash its dividend.

What it is: A Norwegian energy giant that develops oil and gas projects, in addition to clean energy, such as offshore wind. 

Employment changes: No layoffs or furloughs have been reported so far. 

Spending cuts: On March 25, Equinor said it's trimming capital expenditure for 2020 by about $2.5 billion, or 20%, and reducing exploration and operating costs by a total of $1.1 billion. On April 23, the company also announced that it's slashing its dividend by two-thirds for the first quarter of 2020 — from 27 cents per share in the last three months of 2019 down to 9 cents per share. Equinor is the first oil major to announce dividend cuts. 

Production cuts: "Within US onshore activities, drilling and completion activities are being halted to produce the volumes at a later period," the company said in March. 

Read more: A top energy analyst says dividends of these 7 oil majors are unsustainable — and shares one metric that reveals the 2 companies most at risk

Italian oil major Eni cut capital spending by 30%, but it has yet to touch its dividend.

What it is: Eni is one of the world's largest oil and gas companies, headquartered in Italy. 

Employment changes: No layoffs or furloughs have been reported so far. 

Spending cuts: The Italian major is cutting capital spending for 2020 by 30%, or about 2.3 billion euros (about $2.5 billion), according to a public statement. Eni is also planning to reduce other expenses by about 600 million euros (about $650 million). 

Production cuts: "Production this year should be around 1.75 million-1.8 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), down from a forecast in February of about 1.9 million and slightly lower than last year's 1.87 million boepd," Reuters reports. 

BP is cutting about 10,000 office employees across its global workforce.

What it is: A London-based supermajor and one of the largest energy companies in the world, involved in both upstream and downstream activities. 

Employment changes: BP is planning to trim its global workforce by about 15%, resulting in 10,000 or so layoffs. The majority of those cuts, which disproportionately affect senior office-based roles, will take place before the end of the year, the company said. BP did not share how the cuts would impact specific geographies or business units in response to a request for comment. 

Spending cuts: BP is cutting its 2020 capital expenditure by about 25%, down to about $12 billion, according to a public statement. As part of that, the company said it would slash around $1 billion from both upstream (oil exploration and production) and downstream (refining and petrochemicals) activities.

On June 29, BP said it was selling its petrochemical business to Ineos, a UK-based chemicals company, in a deal worth $5 billion. Earlier in the month, the oil giant told shareholders that it expects to write down as much as $17.5 billion worth of oil and gas assets, the New York Times reports. 

Production cuts: BP expects to produce 70,000 fewer barrels of oil equivalent per day, making 2020 production lower than output in 2019. 

Read more: Oil giant BP is cutting 10,000 jobs. Read the full memo the CEO sent to staff detailing why he's shrinking the company — and what it means for bonuses, salaries, and promotions.

Total froze recruitment and cut more than $4 billion from its capital spending budget.

What it is: A French multinational oil major and one of the largest energy companies in the world.  

Employment changes: Total is freezing recruitment. "I'm instructing everyone to freeze hiring," Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman & CEO of Total, said in a video message to employees in March.

Spending cuts: Total is cutting capex by more than $4 billion, or 25%, from $18 billion to less than $14 billion, according to a public statement. The company is also shrinking operating costs by $1 billion.  

Have you or an acquaintance been laid off by an oil company? Please contact us at [email protected] or through the secure message app Signal at (646) 768-1657. 

Royal Dutch Shell cut its dividend for the first time since WWII.

What it is: One of just a handful of oil supermajors, Shell is involved in nearly all aspects of the energy supply chain. 

Employment changes: Shell will offer voluntary severance, scale back external recruitment,  and review contracts of expatriate staff, Bloomberg reported. 

Spending cuts: Shell sent tremors through the oil and gas industry in April when it announced that it would cut its quarterly dividend for the first time since World War II. Shell is also shrinking capital expenditure for the year by about $5 billion to $20 billion or below, the company said in a public statement, while reducing operational expenditure by a further $3 billion to $4 billion, relative to 2019. In late June, Shell said it would write down the value of its assets by up to $22 billion. 

Production cuts: Shell is cutting production at two Louisiana refineries, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Read more: Shell's CEO explains why the oil giant had to slash its dividend for the first time since World War II

This article has been updated with layoffs at Schlumberger and performance-review changes at Exxon. 

US oil giant Chevron will cut up to 15% of its workforce.

What it is: California-based Chevron is one of the world's largest oil and gas companies involved in both upstream and downstream activities. 

Employment changes: Chevron will cut 10% to 15% of its global workforce, or as many as 6,700 employees, as the company streamlines its structure to match the current market conditions, a spokesperson told Business Insider. "Impacts in each location, business segment, and function will vary," the spokesperson said. "This is a difficult decision, and we do not make it lightly." 

On July 20, Chevron said it agreed to buy oil-and-gas giant Noble Energy, which the company said would lead to additional cuts, as Business Insider previously reported. 

Spending cuts: Chevron is paring back capital spending by about $6 billion to as low as $14 billion in 2020, largely by shrinking spending in the Permian Basin. The company is also reducing its operating expenses by about $1 billion. 

Production cuts: The company said that 2020 production will remain relatively flat, compared to 2019, though its spending cuts translate to "125,000 fewer barrels of oil equivalent per day," Bloomberg reports.

Read more: Chevron warned some workers will lose their jobs in its massive merger with Noble Energy. These are the roles being targeted for cuts.

 

Exxon Mobil is obscuring layoffs in performance-based cuts, current and former employees allege

What it is: An oil and gas supermajor involved in upstream and downstream activities. It was formed in 1999 through the merger of Exxon and Mobil and is now one of the largest oil companies in the world. 

Employment changes: Exxon says it has no planned layoffs. Leaked documents show that it tweaked its employee ranking system in April, which increases the number of employees that are at risk of performance-based job cuts, Business Insider previously reported. 

Spending cuts: Earlier this year, the company said it was cutting capital spending for 2020 by 30%, or $10 billion, from $33 billion down to $23 billion, per a public statement. It also said it would reduce operating expenses by 15%. 

Read more: Leaked documents reveal Exxon changed its employee-ranking system amid the coronavirus pandemic, putting more workers at risk of getting cut

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