ConocoPhillips to lay off more workers

James Fenton

FARMINGTON — As part of a companywide reduction of its global work force, ConocoPhillips will lay off another round of workers in San Juan County.

ConocoPhillips will lay off another group of local workers later this month as part of a companywide staff reduction..

Davy Kong, ConocoPhillips' spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement that the company will make a final decision on the number of impacted company employees in the county by the middle of September.

The oil and gas company will lay off about 6 percent of its global work force, Kong said. A majority of those impacted work in Houston, the location of the company's corporate headquarters, she said.

"In July, we notified employees that in response to the downturn, we will have targeted work force reductions in certain areas of our business to align our organizational size with future activity levels," Kong said.

The news follows the loss of 65 ConocoPhillips jobs here last year. Currently, about 500 workers operate the company's San Juan Basin asset, she said.

The company will not be offering the affected employees early retirement, Kong said.

ConocoPhillips spokesman Daren Beaudo said the company's latest work force reduction is driven by the prolonged downturn in the oil and gas industry caused by record low prices for crude oil and natural gas on the commodities market.

The "bust" period has impacted the company's drilling plans and led to the termination of its deep water exploration program, Beaudo said.

"We have taken several significant steps as a company to adapt to lower and more volatile prices and strengthen our position, including lowering our dividend, substantially reducing capital spending," Beaudo said.

ConocoPhillips is the largest producer of natural gas in New Mexico. The corporate giant operates nearly half — about  9,000 — of all the wells in the San Juan Basin, which represent almost 9 percent of the company's worldwide assets.

The company operates two local office complexes — one in Farmington on East 30th Street and the other on U.S. Highway 64 between Farmington and Bloomfield.

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