Mitchell Energy & Development Corp. said it plans to reduceits work force in February through both a voluntary incentiveretirement program and staff cuts, but it did not say how manypositions would be eliminated. The company currently has 1,125employees at offices in east and north Texas. Reductions areexpected throughout the company’s operating areas, not only in theHouston area.

CEO George P. Mitchell said that as the market weakened, actionsto cut costs were taken beginning last summer. “But the energyindustry is going through a down-cycle, and additional steps havebecome necessary.”

Mitchell Energy & Development Corp. is among the nation’slargest independent producers of natural gas and natural gasliquids. The company reported a third quarter loss of $3.7 million,or 8 cents per share of class A common stock and 7 cent per shareof class B. That compared with $4.5 million in earnings in 3Q97.

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