Schlumberger to Boost Louisiana Workforce for Natural Gas Project

The Associated Press reported Friday that oilfield services major Schlumberger will expand its operations in Louisiana to exploit a new natural gas find.

The report stated that the project, valued at $48 million, will need a 400-count boost to its workforce in Shreveport, located in the northwest part of the state.

This news counters January's announcement that the company intended to cut about 1,000 jobs in North America (around 5% of its workforce), with further plans to reduce its global employment base by 5,000 on the heels of a worldwide trend to tighten budgets and trim staff amid lower commodity prices.

However, the Houston Chronicle reported today that Schlumberger is mulling a second round of employment layoffs, citing a prepared text of Chief Executive Andrew Gould's speech for the 2009 Howard Weil Energy Conference in New Orleans. According to the Houston Chronicle, the layoffs are part of Schlumberger's effort to cut costs to reflect its reduced capital budget for 2009.

"We are entering a period that will be very different from the last five years when our business was driven by narrow margins of excess supply with resulting effects on oil and natural gas prices," Gould noted in his speech.

"Now we are at a stage where the evolution of demand -- governed by the level of economic activity -- has become the overriding driver of oil and gas behavior," he added.

Schlumberger, whose workforce spans 19,000 employees in North America and 84,000 worldwide, has its principal offices in Houston, Paris and The Hague, and provides services such as well-site testing, directional drilling and reservoir management.