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Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. 

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The U.S. Lost 120,000 Oil & Gas Jobs In 2020

Roughneck

Around 120,000 jobs were lost in the U.S. oil and gas industry last year due to the crash in oil demand and prices and subsequent massive downsizing of staffing levels, Rystad Energy said in a new analysis this week.

The United States, the third-biggest employer in the oil and gas sector globally, saw the number of jobs in the industry decline to around 960,000 last year, down from approximately 1,080,000 employees in 2019. Due to the still ongoing downturn and the rollover effect into 2021, the number of oil and gas workers in the United States could drop to 950,000, the energy research company said.

“The toll in the US was more devastating, estimated at 11.1%, thereby faring worse than its European peers and Russia,” Rystad Energy said.  

Companies in the industry cut thousands of jobs in the United States and globally last year. The biggest oil firms cut thousands of jobs each, with BP slashing 10,000 jobs or 15 percent of its workforce, Shell cutting up to 9,000 jobs, and Exxon cutting 14,000 jobs, including 1,900 in the United States. These are just a few examples.

The oilfield services providers also slashed staffing levels as drilling activit—especially in the U.S. shale patc—plunged.

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Just last month, America’s oilfield services and equipment sector employment fell by an estimated 10,048 jobs, according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and analysis by the Energy Workforce & Technology Council. The number of oilfield services sector jobs in the United States dropped from 706,528 in February 2020 to 603,732 in February 2021, a decline of 14.5 percent. Currently, the sector employment is at its lowest point since at least 2013, according to the council’s latest monthly energy jobs report.

Outside of the United States, the largest oil and gas employer, China, saw workforce numbers drop by only 5.3 percent, according to Rystad Energy estimates. Still, considering the fact that most employers there are held by the state, job redundancies are more difficult to make than other cost-saving measures.

In Europe, the UK lost 6.3 percent of its oil and gas workforce in 2020, while Norway’s staffing level was reduced only by about 3.6 percent, thanks to government support and furlough policies, Rystad Energy said.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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