Transocean, Aker, NOV cut more jobs

Offshore staff

HOUSTON – The oil patch has been hit with hundreds of more job cuts as the industry strives to adapt to the “lower for longer” scenario. Transocean, NOV, and Aker Solutions will lay off hundreds of employees between them.   

According to documents filed with the Texas Workforce Commission, Transocean will cut between 70 and 80 employees working in its Houston office with the Discoverer Americas ultra-deepwater drilling rig.

Statoil terminated its contract with the Switzerland-based Transocean’s drillship in December 2015. The drillship has been on contract with Statoil since 2009, supporting its exploration activities in East and North Africa and the Gulf of Mexico. The company said it was unable to secure additional activity for the rig for the remainder of the contract period, set to end in May 2016. 

Transocean suffered another challenge last week when it announced that it had agreed with Keppel FELS to defer the delivery and related payments of five high-specification jackups until 2020. Similarly, it agreed with Shell EP Wells Equipment Wells Services B.V. and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. to delay the operating and delivery contracts of two newbuild ultra-deepwater drillships in October 2015.

Shell and Murphy have also recently canceled contracts with the drillship provider, who had a round of lay-offs last month in connection to the 2010-build Deepwater Champion.

Elsewhere, Aker Solutions has notified its Norwegian subsea employees to expect as many as 600 permanent staff positions (management and non-management) to be cut at facilities in Fornebu, Moss, Tranby, and Ågotnes.

The company is streamlining its subsea business to support leaner processes and bolster overall operations, it said. Workforce reductions will be made through normal employee turnover and redundancies, Aker said.

The company called the cuts “necessary measures to strengthen the organization and boost competitiveness amid a continued market slowdown.”

“These are tough but necessary measures to strengthen the subsea business’ competitiveness during a challenging time for our industry,” said Per Harald Kongelf, head of Aker Solutions’ Norwegian operations.

In February, Aker announced that it would shave the salaries of employees in its Norwegian maintenance, modifications, and operations business.

The company is restructuring its global subsea business to enhance development of its leading subsea technology and products as it expands in key markets outside Norway. A third of Aker Solutions’ order backlog of NOK 40 billion ($4.6 billion) was for subsea work in West Africa at the end of 2015.

The company in 2015 reduced capacity in its global subsea business by about 1,000 permanent positions. More than half of the adjustments were in Norway.

Additionally, NOV will soon close its Oscar Nelson Jr. Dr. manufacturing site in Baytown, outside of Houston, with 107 jobs expected to be lost in the coming months. In January, NOV closed a manufacturing facility on Air Center Blvd. in Houston, affecting 129 employees.  


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