Schlumberger Says Mideast Job Cuts Below 5% Global Average

DUBAI (Dow Jones Newswires), Jan. 26, 2009

Schlumberger Ltd., the world's largest oilfield services company by market capitalization, said Monday it would cut jobs in the Middle East amid slowing oil field activities, but less than the global average of 5%.

"In order to match resources to activity levels worldwide, Schlumberger anticipates approximately 5,000 positions may be eliminated worldwide. In the Middle East, any reductions are expected to be below the average worldwide figure of 5%," Gen Herga, media relations specialist at Schlumberger told Zawya Dow Jones in an emailed statement.

Oil services firms such as Schlumberger, Halliburton Co. and Baker Hughes Inc. are affected by a slump in commodity prices due to falling demand as the world's biggest economies have slipped into recession.

Persian Gulf oil producers such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait are slowing their oil and gas investment plans, and are lowering crude oil production as part of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' drive to reverse a $100 a barrel oil price drop since July.

"We expect weaker oil field activity in 2009 as customers reduce their exploration and production investment," Herga said.

Most of the job cuts would be in North American natural gas drilling, Russian oil production enhancement operations and mature offshore basins, Herga added.

Copyright (c) 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.