Ivory Coast State Oil Company Eyes Cutting Budget as Oil Slumps

  • Petroci needs to fire workers to `survive,' MD Diaby says
  • Plans tied to crude at $26 per barrel, below previous $45

Ivory Coast’s state oil company is considering cutting its budget and needs to fire workers to continue operating, Managing Director Ibrahima Diaby said.

Petroci’s budget now assumes oil will average $26 per barrel this year, below the previous estimate of $45 per barrel, he said by phone on Wednesday. Unions have refused the company’s offer of 10 months of severance for fired employees and have demanded 40 months instead, he said. Union spokesman Herve Koutouan didn’t answer a call to his mobile phone. Workers began a 72-hour strike this week.

“If we want to survive, we needed to fire some workers,” Diaby said. “The company has lost three-quarters of its revenue because of the drop in oil prices.”

Oil companies from Exxon Mobil Corp. to BP Plc are reporting slumping profits and cutting spending as oil plunged to the lowest level since 2003 amid growing supply and concerns about a slowdown in global economic growth. BP reported a record annual loss on Tuesday. Exxon’s credit rating outlook was lowered to negative, signaling that one of only three U.S. companies with the top rating at Standard & Poor’s may be downgraded.

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