Oilfield service company Baker Hughes lays off more than 60 workers


FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) – An oilfield service company in the Four Corners region has laid off 67 workers, citing low oil and gas prices.

Baker Hughes Pressure Pumping district manager Robert “Kevin” Jones told the Daily Times of Farmington that the company announced the layoffs on Tuesday.

“They let go the entire frack, or stimulation, department this morning. Shut the entire department down,” Jones said. “All of those guys have a lot of respect for me and I have a lot of respect for them.”

Baker Hughes spokeswoman Melanie Kania says after the layoffs the company will still employ around 250 workers in New Mexico.

The company sent a WARN, or Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, letter to Farmington Mayor Tommy Roberts and to the state Department of Workforce Solutions to alert them to the layoffs.

In the Nov. 10 letter, Brian Dockey, Baker Hughes’ human resources official, said that the company’s decision to permanently lay off workers was a reaction to slumping oil and gas prices on the commodities market. Dockey also said the layoffs were companywide.

“As you may be aware, the North American oil and gas market is experiencing reduced exploration, drilling (and) production as a result of the declining price of oil,” Dockey said.

The layoffs included 39 field operators and other workers.

New Mexico Oil and Gas Association spokesman Wally Drangmeister says that the news was unfortunate but not entirely a surprise because of the hit oil and gas prices have taken on the commodities market. With just two rigs drilling in the San Juan Basin, Drangmeister said the local industry is having to scale back development.

“This news from Baker Hughes speaks to the challenges that we are facing in the northwest New Mexico,” Drangmeister said.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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