Low Gas Prices Are Not Good News For Everyone
Newfield Exploration Company, a Texas-based energy firm, and Utah’s largest oil producer, announced it has laid off 200 employees nationwide of which 80 employees affected work in the city of Myton in Duschene County. This is nearly 20% of the company’s entire workforce.
Duchesne County, which was recently ranked ninth on a CNBC list of the nation’s ten most oil-drilling-dependent counties has already seen a 60% increase in new unemployment filings just in the last two weeks. Some of the new claims are by people who have worked for companies that provide contract services for Newfield and other oil and gas production companies in the region. These smaller companies have felt the squeeze as energy producers have reduced their use of outside contractors.
“I think what you’re seeing right now in the (Uintah) Basin is a natural response to market conditions,” said Utah Petroleum Association President Lee Peacock. He is hoping this is only a temporary setback but depending on what happens in the world market related to the price of oil, it’s going to be a little unpredictable.
In addition to the layoffs, Newfield announced that it will not drill any new wells in Utah until oil prices rebound. Any wells that are already in the process of being drilled will be completed, but once that work is finished, the company’s drilling rigs will be laid down.