Take a look back at the top Eagle Ford news stories of the week. Depressed oil prices continue to impact economies at home and abroad. Houston lost more jobs as it weathers the oil bust, and an OPEC official said a deal to freeze production will be reached soon.
5. Once wedded to oil, Houston economy carries on despite bust
HOUSTON (AP) — Amanda Salazar watched for a year as colleagues at the Houston-based oil rig manufacturer where she worked lost jobs, victims of the latest oil bust. She realized it was time for a change before she too got a pink slip.
So Salazar left her job as a software trainer with National Oilwell Varco for a similar position at a hospital. Even if the oil market turned around immediately, she reasoned, it might take 18 months before the industry picked up again.
“And that’s a long time to be sitting at work wondering if you’re going to get laid off,” she said.
4. Chevron announces more Houston job cuts
Chevron plans to cut 655 Houston jobs as part of a payroll decrease across its upstream business. The California-based company confirmed the layoffs Thursday.
Chevron previously stated it would cut its workforce by 4,000 this year. In 2015, The oil major reduced its workforce by 3,000. The total estimated cuts made up about 10 percent of the company’s workforce at the end of 2014.
“In light of the current market environment, Chevron continues to take action by revising organizational structures, increasing efficiencies and reducing expenses,” spokesman Cam Van Ast said in an email, confirming the layoffs.
3. Qatar says 12 countries confirmed for oil cap meeting
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Qatar’s oil minister says 12 countries have agreed so far to participate in a meeting it’s hosting next month to discuss a freeze in oil output levels.
Qatar announced earlier this month it would be the venue for between OPEC and non-OPEC producers on April 17 to discuss the production cap. The talks are aimed at bolstering oil prices that have fallen from over $100 a barrel in 2014 to less than $40 a barrel at present.
2. Federal suit to stop Halliburton, Baker Hughes deal
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is suing to stop Halliburton from buying oilfield-services rival Baker Hughes, the latest effort by the Obama administration to block mergers that it believes enrich corporations but hurt consumers.
The government argues that the $35 billion deal would lead to higher prices and less innovation in the business of helping energy companies drill for oil and gas.
The Justice Department filed a lawsuit in federal court in Delaware, charging that the deal would eliminate head-to-head competition in 23 markets for products and services including drill bits, fluids and expertise in drilling horizontal wells. Those and other innovations have helped spur a renaissance in U.S. energy production.
1. OPEC official: Oil production freeze deal likely to be reached
KUWAIT CITY (AP) — Kuwait’s OPEC governor is saying members of the oil cartel and other producing countries likely will reach a deal later this month for a production freeze as crude prices sit below $40 a barrel.
The state-run Kuwait News Agency quoted Nawal al-Fuzai on Tuesday as saying that oil ministers of OPEC nations and several non-OPEC nations showed interest in freezing production at the same rate of February, but that further negotiations are ongoing.