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Exxon Mobil to cut 14,000 jobs as pandemic hit oil demand, prices

Exxon Mobil announced it will slash its global workforce by 15% over the next two years, as it struggles to preserve dividends.



Exxon Mobil to cut 14,000 jobs as pandemic hit oil demand, prices, ExxonMobil to Divest oil fields in Nigeria, Domestic oil companies

Exxon Mobil Corp on Thursday, October 30, 2020, announced that it will reduce its global workforce by 15% by the end of 2022 – an unprecedented culling by North America’s biggest oil explorer, as the coronavirus pandemic hits energy demand, prices, and struggles to preserve dividends.

The job cuts are expected to include 1,900 U.S. jobs – mostly in Houston, the headquarters for its US oil and gas businesses – as well as layoffs previously announced in Europe and Australia and reductions in the number of contractors, some of which have already taken place.

READ: Exxon Mobil, Chevron record their worst losses in history

READ: Presco Plc projects N24.53 billion turnover in Q4 2020

This was disclosed in a statement that was released by the energy giant on Thursday, October 30, 2020.

The staff reduction is part of the latest effort by the Chief Executive Officer, Darren Woods, to curtail spending and halt the worst string of quarterly losses since Exxon assumed its modern form with the 1999 takeover of Mobil Corp.

READ: Chevron considers divesting from Nigeria, to focus on U.S Shale Oil

What you should know

Exxon and other oil producers have been slashing costs due to a collapse in oil demand and prices, as well as ill-timed bets on new projects. The Big Oil rivals of Exxon are also cutting thousands of jobs in response to the pandemic-induced demand slump. BP Plc plans to slash 10,000 jobs, Royal Dutch Shell Plc will cut as many as 9,000 roles, and Chevron Corp. has announced around 6,000 reductions.


Norton said that Exxon’s workforce stood at about 88,000 people, including 75,000 in-house employees and about 13,000 contractors as of year-end 2019.

READ: Why the NNPC is being dragged to US courts by Exxon Mobil, Shell

Exxon’s job cut is a sign of its weakened financial position compared to its former status as the S&P 500 Index’s biggest company less than a decade ago, and a profit powerhouse used to ride out oil-price cycles.

This year’s downturn has been particularly damaging because it also affected refining, usually a cushion in times of low oil prices. Also, it came at a time when Exxon was already increasing borrowing to fund a large expansion program. The company was forced to retreat on these plans in April, reducing capital spending by $10 billion and delaying or scaling back most of the major projects.

READ: Exxon begins talks with domestic firms to divest businesses in Nigeria

The stock has plunged more than 50% this year. Its dividend yield is now more than 10%, indicating that investors are anticipating a cut. Exxon maintained the quarterly payout on Wednesday and is expected to post its third consecutive quarterly loss when it reports earnings tomorrow.

What they are saying

The Company in its statement said, “These actions will improve the company’s long-term cost competitiveness and ensure the company manages through the current unprecedented market conditions.’’

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Exxon’s spokesman, Casey Norton, through an email said that the total reduction means the company will reduce its workforce by about 14,000 people, split between employees and contractors from year-end 2019 levels. The cuts will come through attrition, targeted redundancy programs in 2021, and scaled-back hiring in some countries.

READ: Google fired up, post strong advertising growth

What this means

Another set of job losses in the oil sector in Nigeria is looming. Nigeria is one of Exxon’s biggest operational bases in oil and gas exploration and production globally. Also, this is another setback after Shell announced 9,000 job cuts globally, which includes Nigeria, and the announcement by Chevron that it plans to reduce its staff strength in Nigeria by 25%.

Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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Business News

Nigeria’s revenue crisis may further worsen as India cuts oil imports by $39.5 billion

The revenue to be earned by Nigeria has come under further threat due to India’s drop in crude oil importation.



Now that oil is recovering, when will naira recover?

The revenue to be earned by Nigeria has come under further threat due to India’s drop in crude oil importation.

Data from India’s Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell showed that the country, which took over from the United States as Nigeria’s largest crude oil importer, reduced crude oil imports by $39.5 billion in April, compared to the same time the previous year.

According to a report from Punch, the Indian High Commission in Nigeria said that India’s crude oil imports from Nigeria in 2020 amounted to $10.03 billion, representing 17% of Nigeria’s total crude exports for the year.

READ: The implications of India’s recent ban of its seafarers off Nigeria’s waters

India has been badly hit by a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic which led to a spike in infections in April and lockdown in major cities with the attendant negative effect on Nigeria’s oil sales.

The NNPC was prompted to drop the official standard price of its main export streams, Bonny Light, Brass River, Erha, and Qua Iboe, by 61-62 cents per barrel, below its April 2021 prices. They traded at $0.9, $0.8, $0.65, $0.97 per barrel respectively, below international benchmarks, as showed.

India had been a major buyer of the not-too-light and not-too-heavy Nigerian crude that suited its refiners with the Indian Oil Corporation’s refineries reported to be operating at 95% capacity in April, down from 100%.

READ: Nigeria needs urgent economic diversification – AfDB

An official at the IOC was quoted as saying, “If cases continue to rise and curbs are intensified, we may see cuts in refinery runs and lower demand after a month.”

India reportedly bought more American and Canadian oil at the expense of Africa and the Middle East, reducing purchases from members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to around 2.86 million barrels per day.

Bottom line

This is not good news for Nigeria which is facing a serious revenue crisis as a result of a drop in crude oil receipts.

The federal government is also being forced by the prevailing realities to consider cutting the cost of governance and reducing the salaries of government workers. The latter proposal has, however, been criticized by various stakeholders.

A slump in crude oil demand from Nigeria’s major buyer will further worsen the economic crisis the country is facing having just marginally recovered from a recession in the last quarter of 2020.

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Business News

Oil market reacts as Colonial Pipeline cyber attack affects prices

WTI oil futures are currently up by 1.34% (WoW) to $65.35 and the Brent oil futures are currently up by 1.87% (WoW) to $68.82.



Sequel to the cyber-attack that hit top U.S. fuel pipeline operator, Colonial Pipeline Co., the price of oil has started to improve. During the Asian session on Sunday, WTI oil opened at $65.52, representing a 0.95% gain from Friday’s $64.9, when the incident happened.

WTI oil futures are currently up by 1.34% (WoW) to $65.35 and the Brent oil futures are currently up by 1.87% (WoW) to $68.82.

Colonial Pipeline was forced to shut down its entire operation after the cyberattack. The company so far has given no timeline as to when the pipeline will begin its operation.

“It’s an all-hands-on-deck effort right now… we are working closely with the company, state and local officials, to make sure that they get back up to normal operations as quickly as possible and there aren’t disruptions in supply,” U.S. Commerce Secretary, Gina Raimondo said.

The pipeline is responsible for supplying nearly half of all the fuel consumed on the U.S. East Coast and provides refined products to more than 50 million Americans. Because of this, oil prices are likely to increase at several fuel distribution points, including Wilmington in North Carolina, Charleston in South Carolina, and Savannah in Georgia, Tank Tiger CEO, Ernie Barsamian told Bloomberg.

The U.S. government has issued emergency legislation on Sunday, relaxing rules on the fuel being transported by road. The legislation allows for drivers in 18 states to work extra or more flexible hours when transporting refined petroleum products. The temporary waiver issued enables oil products to be shipped to as far as New York but there are worries that this may not be enough to cover demand. This indicates that the pipeline may not be fully operational for some time.

The attack comes as the U.S. COVID-19 vaccination rate is improving. Americans are once again commuting to the office, planning major travel for the first time and booking flights. A prolonged disruption along the pipeline system threatens to send average U.S. gasoline prices above $3.00 a gallon for the first time since October 2014, further encouraging fears of inflation as commodity prices rally worldwide.

In the meantime, fuel producers in the U.S. are weighing options for how to ship their products to the Northeast in case Colonial isn’t restored quickly. Traders and fuel shippers are seeking vessels to deliver gasoline that would have otherwise been shipped on the pipeline while others are securing tankers to temporarily store gasoline in the U.S. Gulf in the event of a prolonged shutdown.

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