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Noble Energy Lays Off More People

After reducing its workforce by 10% in April, Houston-based onshore explorer Noble Energy Inc. this week began sending pink slips to close to 180 more people.

About one-third of the new job losses, announced Tuesday, will impact Texas, with 60 people losing their jobs in the Houston area, as well as operational staff for the Eagle Ford Shale and Permian Basin operations. In April, Noble laid off 230 of its 2,000-plus personnel, which mostly affected Houston, where it is headquartered (see Shale DailyApril 9). Dozens of former Rosetta Resources Inc. employees, mostly corporate-level staff, also lost their jobs after Noble completed its takeover of the onshore producer (see Shale DailyAug. 4).

"As we approach 2016, we intend to be cash flow neutral while maintaining long-term operational capacity," a spokeswoman said. "Our diverse portfolio offers exceptional investment options, and we will continue to focus capital allocation on activities that best deliver overall returns and value."

During a third quarter conference call held earlier this month, CEO Dave Stover said exploration spending would be lower in 2016 than in previous years, but he said production volumes likely would be higher (see Shale DailyNov. 2).

"Next year's onshore capital program will again focus on those activities with the highest returns and value," he said. The Denver-Julesburg Basin in Colorado and Texas projects "should continue to attract the majority of our investment." In the Gulf of Mexico, where Noble has extensive operations, capital "will mainly be attributed to one rig exploration and appraisal program..."

Noble lost $283 million (minus 67 cents/share) in 3Q2015, compared with earnings a year ago of $419 million ($1.16).

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