With crude prices sinking, oil industry layoffs are on the way

January 20, 2015, 11:53 PM UTC

Oil companies are planing more job cuts as they grapple with falling crude prices.

Oilfield services provider Baker Hughes (BHI) said Tuesday it planned to layoff 7,000 workers to cut costs. At almost the same time, Halliburton (HAL) suggested that it would also slash its payroll without giving any specifics.

The planned job cuts reflect the abrupt change in fortunes for the oil industry, which had undergone a years-long boom. But over the summer, crude prices started to tumble – they’re now down 60% from their peak – and put the oil industry into a tailspin.

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Martin Craighead, CEO of Baker Hughes, said his company needed to take proactive steps to manage its business through a challenging time. Job cuts represent 11% of the company’s entire workforce.

“This is really the crappy part of the job, and this is what I hate about this industry frankly,” Craighead said in a conference call with analysts. “This is the industry, and it’s throwing us another one of these downturns, and we’re going to be good stewards of our business and do the right thing. But these are never decisions that are done mechanically.”

Meanwhile, Jeff Miller, president for Halliburton, said that his firm also plans job cuts in North America in the coming months. He didn’t give details about the potential layoffs other than to say they will be “similar adjustments” to a previous round of 1,000 cuts in the Eastern Hemisphere, according to the energy blog Fuel Fix.

Baker Hughes is being acquired by Halliburton for $34.8 billion this year.

Last week, another oil services company, Schlumberger, said it would fire 9,000 workers, or 8% of its total workforce.