Apache announces North Sea job cuts

OREANDA-NEWS. May 19, 2016. Apache is cutting 37 positions in its North Sea offshore business to lower costs amid the prolonged oil market downturn.

The cuts will not be voluntary, but will be based on job performance and skills, it said.

"While the company has made progress reducing its costs, further reductions are necessary to maintain a sustainable business and further strengthen Apache's commitment to its North Sea operations now and in the future," it said.

Apache is among a small group of US independents such as ConocoPhillips, Hess, Anadarko and Occidental, who have a maintained a mix of domestic and international upstream assets. That global footprint is paying off for the diversified group as projects such as deepwater, oil sands and LNG have a much slower decline rate than shale oil fields, which need constant reinvestment just to maintain steady output.

Apache expects projects in the North Sea and an Egyptian oil project that "continues to deliver successful and reliable results" to help drive growth, chief executive John Christmann said in the company's first quarter earnings call earlier this month.

In March, Apache said it was shutting down its oil and gas exploration and production operations in Alaska as it earmarked the bulk of the spending on "higher rate-of-return opportunities in Egypt and North Sea" and on its North American onshore acreage.

The independent, which lowered its 2016 capital expenditure (capex) by 68pc to \\$1.4bn-\\$1.7bn, saw first quarter output fall by 2pc to 479,000 b/d of oil equivalent (boe/d). North Sea output fell by 1pc to 70,170 boe/d because of unplanned maintenance at third-party operated pipelines. But "Apache brought four successful development wells online, which resulted in a strong production rebound in the month of April," it said.

Apache operates the North Sea Forties field, which it acquired in 2003. It currently employs about 670 people in its North Sea operations, headquartered at Aberdeen.