Local oil producer California Resources Corp. has indicated it plans to permanently lay off 55 people in Bakersfield, including in relatively high-pay job classifications such as engineers, because of lower demand for petroleum during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a notice sent to local authorities Friday, CRC said affected employees will get 60 days' worth of pay starting sometime before Oct. 1. It said those who have received layoff notices will not have to report for work but they will remain employees until their 60 days' notice period expires.
Oil prices plummeted during the first three months of 2020 before beginning a slow and modest recovery in early May.
In late March the company reduced working hours for local employees and shut in some of its wells.
Meanwhile, the company has struggled with some $5 billion in debt left over from its 2014 spinoff from Houston-based Occidental Petroleum Corp. Unable to strike a debt reorganization deal with its largest debtors, CRC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on July 16.
A CRC spokeswoman said in May the company had about 730 employees in Kern. On Monday she said it had more than 600.