(Reuters) – Papua New Guinea-focused oil and gas firm Oil Search said on Wednesday it has axed a third of its workforce amid slumping demand, in a shake-up that also aims to reserve more senior positions for Papua New Guinea (PNG) citizens and women.
Oil Search, listed in Australia, said it has shrunk its full-time workforce to 1,222 – with another 137 to move on by year-end – from all of its locations as it seeks to shore up its balance sheet in an environment of low crude oil prices as well at reduced demand.
It also said it would boost senior leadership roles for PNG citizens: expatriate positions in PNG will be reduced to 7% of all jobs, while the percentage of women in the workforce and executive positions will rise to about 28%.
The oil and gas producer currently has women occupying four out of 16 board and management positions, according to its website. It didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking clarification on representation of PNG nationals in its workforce and senior positions.
Oil Search flagged in May that it was considering cutting its oil production in Papua New Guinea from July due to weak global prices. It produced 1.57 million barrels of oil last year in PNG.
While demand for oil has picked up from the worst weeks of the coronavirus outbreak, an upturn in new infection cases in the United States has revived uncertainty regarding oil prices and demand. [O/R]
On Wednesday, the oil and gas producer said it expects production costs to be about $10.50 per barrel of oil equivalent (boe) before one-off costs in 2020, compared to previous guidance of $11-12/boe.
Shares were up 0.6% as of 0143 GMT, compared with a nearly 1% rise in the ASX 200 benchmark index
(Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Kenneth Maxwell)