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Exxon is close to completing a workforce assessment for the United States and Canada, after which it will announce the number of people it needs to lay off in response to the crisis caused by the pandemic.
“Making the organization more efficient and more nimble will reduce the number of required positions and, unfortunately, reduce the number of people we need,” chief executive Darren Woods said in a statement.
“We all recognize the consequences of these difficult decisions and the impacts they have, which is why we’re focused on getting it right by undertaking thorough and thoughtful assessments by business and by country. We believe a bottom-up assessment is the right approach for our business and employees.”
Such assessments were already completed for Europe and Australia. In Europe, Exxon said it would lay off 1,600. In Australia, it offered employees voluntary redundancies.
Exxon swung into a loss as early as the first quarter of the year and then posted another loss for the second quarter when the oil price collapse and the demand destruction by the pandemic combined to pressure oil companies’ earnings. As a result, the supermajor announced spending cuts of 30 percent for the current year and even deeper ones for 2021 to protect its dividend.
Despite the bad news for employees, Woods appeared to be upbeat about the long-term future of the oil industry despite current challenges.
“Some believe the dramatic drop in demand resulting from the corona virus reflects an accelerating response to the risk of climate change and suggest that our industry won’t recover,” he said in the statement. “But as we look closely at the facts and the various expert assessments, we conclude that the needs of society will drive more energy use in the years ahead – and an ongoing need for the products we produce.”
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.