Local oil producer California Resources Corp. said Thursday it has laid off employees as part of a workforce reduction that also involved voluntary retirements and attrition.
The Los Angeles-based spinoff of Houston’s Occidental Petroleum Corp. would not say how many layoffs it carried out, or when. But a company source said fewer than 50 people were laid off statewide, and that the company has lost fewer than 300 workers since the start of the year.
As of mid-September, CRC employed about 1,900 people, including more than 1,000 in Kern County.
The staffing cutbacks result from a roughly 50 percent drop in the price of oil since June 2014. CRC has said it intends to live within its budget, meaning its costs must not exceed its diminished revenues.
“Through attrition, voluntary retirement and layoffs California Resources Corporation has reduced staffing levels given the commodity price environment,” the company said in an email sent in response to questions posed by The Californian.
“We are proud of the efforts of our workforce over the past year to launch CRC as a safe and efficient independent producer of oil and natural gas in California. We will continue to take the steps necessary to provide affordable, reliable and secure energy to Californians throughout the commodity price cycle.”
At least 2,000 oil workers in Kern, or about 17 percent of the industry’s direct workforce in the county, have lost their jobs since December, according to state data. Most of those were layoffs at the service companies oil producers hire to do labor-intensive tasks like drilling and well maintenance.
CRC is not the only oil producer to resort to layoffs. In August, Chevron said it let go 56 people from its Bakersfield staff, a loss of about 3 percent. The company said it had not had to take such a drastic step for “many years.”
CRC’s stock price has suffered worse than oil prices in general. Its shares closed Thursday at $2.69, more than 90 percent below its peak during the past year.