This week major companies including Whiting, Marathon, and Halliburton announced restructuring and layoffs that have caused stock prices to increase.
Whiting Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: WLL) opened Friday Feb. 26 at $3.53 per share and is up 11 percent today, trading at $3.92 after closing at its low yesterday. Whiting announced plans to freeze new fracking and well completions effective April 1 and cut its budget by 80 percent for 2016. This is the largest cutback by a US Shale producer and will not only affect those laid off by Whiting, but also state economies such as North Dakota where oil revenues have become a significant portion of state budgets.
Halliburton Company (NYSE: HAL) has made the decision to eliminate 8 percent of its workforce: 5,000 jobs. There are no clear revelations to which positions will be eliminated although speculation points to US workers due to the slowdown in hydraulic fracking. The stock market again reacted positively. Halliburton opened at $33.14 today, a 5.6 percent increase from what it closed on Friday, February 19 at 31.37. Schlumberger also cut 10,000 jobs in reaction to low oil prices.
The first export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the continental United States left Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass terminal Wednesday, February 24. It was sent to Brazil. According to the WSJ European countries see this first export as a game changer that will allow them to cut back its dependency on Russia.
US rig count as of February 26 is 502 active rigs. This is 12 fewer than last week and only 14 more rigs than the 1999 low of 488 rigs.