Anadarko Cuts 1,000 Jobs as It Idles Drilling Rigs, Sells Assets

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. is shrinking its workforce in the latest step to cope with a collapse in oil and gas prices, following plans to park rigs, slash dividends and sell assets.

The third-largest U.S. natural gas producer is laying off about 1,000 workers, roughly a 17 percent reduction, said company spokesman John Christiansen. The move will affect departments throughout the organization, he said.

"We’ve been very carefully evaluating what our staffing levels should be, given the current downcycle," Christiansen said. "These are our co-workers and friends, so this has been a difficult day."

Anadarko joins U.S. shale drillers from Devon Energy Corp. to Chesapeake Energy Corp. in turning to layoffs and spending cuts to weather the worst energy rout in a generation. The downturn has deepened globally after claiming more than 250,000 jobs and $100 billion of investment last year. With customers running out of cash, rig provider Halliburton Co. is laying off another 5,000 workers after dismissing more than a quarter of its global workforce since crude prices began falling in 2014.

Anadarko lowered its dividend last month for the first time in its history, by 81 percent, and earlier this month said it plans to sell $3 billion in assets while cutting spending on new wells.

The producer said it will lower its onshore rig count by 80 percent to five -- and projects 2016 capital expenditures to be between $2.6 billion to $2.8 billion, nearly 50 percent lower than last year.

U.S. producers have idled three-quarters of their oil and gas rigs since September 2014.

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