Desmoines News Desk

Baker Hughes to lay off 7,000 as oil patch layoffs mount

Baker Hughes to lay off 7,000 as oil patch layoffs mount

As crude oil prices continue slipping, pink slips are mounting in the oil patch. The latest: oilfield services provider Baker Hughes, which said Tuesday it plans to lay off about 7,000 employees – or about 11% of its workforce – in the wake of a nearly 60% drop in the price of crude oil.

“While market demand ended up being more resilient in the fourth quarter than many had predicted, the recent declines seen in rig counts will clearly affect results in 2015, ” said CEO Martin Craighead. “We are taking proactive steps to manage the business through these challenges.”

Baker Hughes fell 1.8% to $55.52 in morning trading. The company, which is being acquired by Halliburton for $34.8 billion later this year, posted record revenue of $6.6 billion for the fourth quarter, up 6% from the fourth quarter of 2013, and made $24.6 billion for the full fiscal year, up 10% from 2013. Baker Hughes joins several other energy companies to slash workers in the oil patch.

Last week, Schlumberger announced plans to cut 9,000 employees, about 8% of its global workforce. Suncor Energy earlier announced plans to cut 1,000 workers from its Canadian tar sands projects. Halliburton cut 1,000 workers, about 1% of its 80,000 workers – in December. and Apache Oil has terminated 250 employees, or about 5% of its employees. Meanwhile, the sector remains under pressure as crude oil prices continue to drop. On Tuesday, benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell another 4% to $46.74 and Brent crude eased 0.7% to $48.48.