Hess slashes workforce by more than 10%

US independent tries to cope with 'lower-for-longer' environment by reducing costs

US independent Hess has executed a significant round of layoffs across the company that likely reduced its workforce by more than 10%.

Upstream understands that Hess cut around 238 people – or a little more than 11% of its total headcount.

A Hess representative confirmed to Upstream that the New York-based oil producer had made the move to cope with continued low oil prices, but declined to confirm the number of employees that were cut. 

"In the lower-for-longer oil price environment, our company continues to look at all areas to reduce costs across our portfolio," Hess representative Laurie Hecker said.

"This has included adjusting our headcount in line with reduced activity and efficiency gains."

The layoffs would be the first job cuts announced by Hess since the downturn began in 2014.

Hess chief executive John Hess had previously said his namesake company was trying to avoid the deep personnel cuts made by many competitors after oil prices plunged beginning in 2014.

At the CeraWeek conference in Houston in April 2015, Hess said the company did not cut its activity as deeply as it might have in order to maintain efficiency gains made in plays like the Bakken in North Dakota.

"The major reason we reduced rigs in Bakken from 17 to eight and not 17 to zero was to keep the human capital going so we could keep that lean manufacturing capability," he told the crowd more than a year ago.

"Because when you come back, it's going to be very hard to train those people to reduce those costs and we want to keep that capability in the company."

Hess had a total of 2770 employees at the end of 2015, according to securities filings.

A website devoted to industry layoffs indicated Hess' headcount stood at about 2100 prior to the most recent round of layoffs.

Hecker offered no official headcount.