At this point in the oil slump, dreaded jobs cuts hardly come as a surprise anymore; this week, Talisman Energy let go of 200 employees while Neven energy cut 400. But how many total American jobs have low oil prices cost? A recent Forbes article estimates at least 75,000—about 12 percent of the nation’s oil and gas workforce—so far.
According to the article, America’s shrinking rig count dwindled by more than 700 rigs in just one year, with an estimated 40 jobs lost per rig closure. The greatest losses, however, have been suffered by oilfield services companies, whose job cuts totaled 59,000; Halliburton cut 6,600, Baker Hughes cut 7,000, Weatherford cut 8,000, and Schlumberger topped the list with 9,000 job cuts.
The sector within the O&G industry suffering the second largest losses was exploration and production, which slashed 10,000 jobs, followed by pipe manufacturing, which cut 7,100 jobs.
Some have cited over-production of oil for abysmal fuel prices, but the article suggests that’s it’s not necessarily how much oil is produced as it is what kind. While America produces an abundance of light, sweet crude, we still import about 5 million barrels per day of heavy, sour crude.
The article’s author, Christopher Helman, suspects that if America could export light crude, producers could leverage higher prices than what Americans are willing to pay for domestic crude.
“And if all else fails?” Helman writes, “Some of these laid off workers could find a new future in Saudi Arabia, where Aramco is reportedly wooing shale workers to ‘join our team.’”