ConocoPhillips lays off 65 county workers

James Fenton

FARMINGTON — ConocoPhillips has followed through on its intention to reduce its work force, a move that impacts dozens of local employees.

The offices of ConocoPhillips are pictured Thursday on 30th Street in Farmington. The company has laid off approximately 65 local employees.

Approximately 65 ConocoPhillips employees in San Juan County were laid off this month. Jim Lowry, ConocoPhillips spokesman, confirmed the layoffs in an email on Wednesday.

ConocoPhillips previously announced its intention to lay off a portion of its company-wide work force in April. The approximately 65 workers are part of that overall reduction, Lowry said.

"Following an assessment of future workforce needs and the impact of lower prices on our business, ConocoPhillips made the difficult decision that reductions were necessary," Lowry said. "The results were layoffs for approximately 65 persons in the San Juan Basin. During this process, one of our primary goals was a commitment to treat all our employees with respect and fairness. This action is part of the previously announced company-wide workforce reduction (in April)."

Lowry said the types of workers impacted by the layoffs were at multiple levels within the Houston-based company.

"The positions represent a variety of responsibilities," he said. "Out of respect for the privacy of everyone impacted, we wouldn’t want to provide any specific information (on the kinds of impacted job positions)."

Lowry said the San Juan Basin remains an important part of the company's asset portfolio. ConocoPhillips has operated in the basin for more than 50 years, he said.

Before the layoffs, the company employed about 600 workers in the Farmington area, Lowry said. ConocoPhillips has two local office complexes — one in Farmington on East 30th Street and the other on U.S. Highway 64 between Farmington and Bloomfield.

Terri King, former vice president for ConocoPhillips' San Juan Business Unit, has taken a new position with the company in Houston to work as the company's vice president of the Mid-Continent Business Unit.

The company's Mid-Continent business unit includes assets in the Permian Basin in west Texas and southeastern New Mexico, Barnett assets in the Fort Worth Basin and Anadarko Basin assets that stretch from the Texas panhandle to central Oklahoma, company spokeswoman Romelia Hinojosa said.

The ConocoPhillips headquarters on 30th Street in Farmington is one of two local offices the company operates.

King took the job Oct. 1, replacing Bill Patterson, who retired after 31 years with ConocoPhillips, according to Hinojosa.

Following King's departure, Lisa Bruner, former ConocoPhillips operations manager in the San Juan Basin, will become asset manager for the San Juan unit, Lowry said. Bruner, who has 25 years of experience with the company, has held engineering, operations and management positions in the Gulf of Mexico, North Sea, Middle East, Southeast Asia and San Juan Basin for the company, Lowry said.

ConocoPhillips operates nearly half — roughly 9,000 — of all the wells in the San Juan Basin, which, along with other production, represents almost 9 percent of the company's total worldwide assets, according to company documents.

James Fenton is the business editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4621.