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Noble Energy to Cut More Than 200 Jobs Nationwide

Texas-based Noble Energy Inc. plans to cut more than 200 jobs across the country and shift oversight of U.S. operations from Houston to Denver in order to more closely align management with the company's core assets in the Denver-Julesburg (DJ) Basin.

Company spokesman Steven Silvers confirmed that Noble released details of its realignment plan on Monday. About 220 jobs, or 10% of Noble's nationwide workforce, will be cut to match a reduction in development operations in Pennsylvania, Texas and Colorado.

Noble said roughly 80 positions would be eliminated in Denver, another 20 in Greeley, CO, and about 20 in Canonsburg, PA, where Noble has a joint venture with Consol Energy Inc. in the Marcellus Shale and recently became the anchor tenant at a 207,000 square-foot office building (see Shale Daily, March 11, 2014). About 100 jobs have already been eliminated in Houston, the company said.

It is unclear if the company plans to close any offices, however. Noble's corporate headquarters had been in Houston, but it has moved key executives to Denver to oversee its U.S. operations, according to local news media reports. Silvers did not provide further details.

In February, Noble said it would slash this year's capital spending by 40% compared to 2014, setting a budget of $2.9 billion to be "split relatively evenly between the DJ Basin and the Marcellus Shale." Noble is Colorado's second-largest oil producer behind Anadarko Petroleum Corp., and its volumes have been on the rise there in recent years. Last quarter, the company produced 315,000 boe/d, with more than a quarter of that, or 108,000 boe/d, produced in the DJ Basin.

Since reaching a more than $100/bbl peak last summer, U.S. crude has plummeted in recent months and failed to stay above $50/bbl for any significant period this year. Noble is the latest exploration and production company to announce job cuts, joining Chevron Appalachia LLC, WPX Energy Inc. and Range Resources Corp., among several others (see Shale Daily, March 4; Feb. 25; Jan. 23). Oilfield services firms such as Halliburton Co., FMC Technologies and Weatherford International plc. have also announced steep workforce cuts in recent months (see Shale Daily, Feb. 11). New orders for drilling equipment have sunk, and suppliers have announced similar job cuts as rigs across the country continue to be idled and producers reduce drilling activity (see Shale Daily, April 2).

Texas alone has lost thousands of jobs in recent months as the result of declining commodity prices (see Shale Daily, March 13).

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