Apache Won't Resort to Layoffs at This Time

HOUSTON (Dow Jones Newswires), Feb. 5, 2009

Oil and gas producer Apache Corp. will hold on to its employees despite the fact that energy prices -- and profits -- have plummeted in recent months, a company executive said Wednesday.

"We have decided not to have layoffs at this time," said Mike Bahorich, the Houston company's executive vice president for exploration and production technology.

Bahorich told Dow Jones Newswires on the sidelines of the NAPE International Forum here that the company had also avoided layoffs in the last downturn, which occurred in the 1990s. That move enabled Apache to retain a "loyal" workforce when the sector recovered a few years later, he said.

For a long time the energy sector, which saw record profits last year, had trouble getting enough talent to staff a massive expansion. Now that the economic downturn and falling demand have taken a toll on oil and gas prices, some companies are shedding jobs. ConocoPhillips said it would lay off 4% of its workforce while slashing its capital spending budget. Oil service companies like Schlumberger and Baker Hughes have also announced cutbacks in staff.

Other companies seem to be holding the line, however. Chevron and Exxon Mobil have said that their spending plans would remain in line with what they spent last year.  

Copyright (c) 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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