Exxon Mobil Corp said on Thursday it will lay off about 1,900 employees in the United States as the COVID-19 pandemic batters energy demand and prices.
Exxon was once the largest US publicly-traded company but has been cutting costs due to a collapse in oil demand and ill-timed bets on new oilfields and expansions. It has promised to shed more than $10bn this year in project spending and cut operating expenses by 15 percent.
The company lost nearly $1.7bn in the first six months of the year and is expected to post another quarterly loss on Friday.
Exxon said the job cuts, part of a global reorganisation, will come mainly from its Houston, Texas office and will include voluntary and involuntary cuts.
“The impact of COVID-19 on the demand for Exxon Mobil’s products has increased the urgency of the ongoing efficiency work,” the company said in a statement.
Employees who are separated through involuntary programmes will receive severance and outplacement services.
Exxon had nearly 75,000 global employees at the end of 2019 but has been reviewing its businesses on a country-by-country basis. Earlier this month it said it would cut 1,600 jobs in Europe. It has also announced cuts in Australia.
Prior to the pandemic, Chief Executive Darren Woods pursued an ambitious spending plan to boost oil output and turn around sagging profits on a bet that a growing global middle class would demand more of its products.
Exxon on Wednesday said it would continue to hold stable its quarterly shareholder dividend payments, which cost it nearly $15bn per year.
Its shares were trading up 2.3 percent higher at $32.29 on Thursday.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc also have outlined up to 15 percent workforce cuts. Chevron Corp’s planned cuts of 10-15 precent would imply a reduction of between 4,500 and 6,750 jobs. It will also cut roughly another 570 positions as part of its acquisition of Noble Energy.