ExxonMobil has struggled amid a drop in crude price globally as well as the shift to renewable energy


BRUCE BENNETT

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US oil and gas giant ExxonMobil announced  Monday it would slash 1,600 jobs in Europe, more than 11 percent of its workforce in the region, as it struggles with the hit from the coronavirus downturn.

“The impact of Covid-19 on the demand for ExxonMobil’s products has increased the urgency of the ongoing efficiency work,” the Texas-based company,  said in a statement.

The company said the job cuts would happen by the end of next year but did not any additional details saying only that “Country-specific impacts will depend on the company’s local business footprint and market conditions.”

Facing decreased demand for crude caused by the coronavirus pandemic as well as the growing shift to green energy, ExxonMobil has seen its share value on Wall Street plummet by more than half this year.

Last week, the company was briefly overtaken in market capitalization by NextEra Energy, a green-era power company which owns two Florida electricity utilities.

ExxonMobil employs 75,000 workers worldwide, and 14,000 in Europe, said Europe is still key to its operations.

“However, significant actions are needed at this time to improve cost competitiveness and ensure the company manages through these unprecedented market conditions,” the company said.

Exxon is not alone in the energy industry in suffering from the Covid-19 crisis and the shifting market.

Anglo-Dutch group Royal Dutch Shell said last week it would axe 9,000 jobs, more than 10 percent of its workforce, by 2022 to reduce costs.

And Shell rival BP announced it would cut 15 percent of staff amounting to 10,000 jobs.

Oil services group Schlumberger said when announcing results in July it would lay off more than 21,000 employees equivalent to a quarter

Storied materials-science company Dow Inc.  (DOW) – Get Report said that it would restructure, cutting “workforce costs” 6% and taking $500 million to $600 million of third-quarter charges for the effort.

It didn’t specify the amount of any layoffs.

The restructuring stems from the coronavirus pandemic, which has curbed demand for Dow products, the company said.

Besides the 6% cost cut, the revamp includes “[rationalizing] certain manufacturing assets,” the Midland, Mich., company said in a statement. 

“These actions are expected to result in total annualized [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization] savings of more than $300 million by the end of 2021.”

The industrial intermediates-and-infrastructure segment will shut certain amines and solvents facilities in the U.S. and Europe, as well as select small-scale downstream polyurethanes manufacturing facilities. 

The performance-materials-and-coatings unit will shutter manufacturing assets, primarily small-scale coatings reactors.

“Given the expected gradual and uneven global economic recovery from covid-19, we announced in July that we are taking necessary actions to continue to optimize our asset footprint, reduce structural costs and enhance the competitiveness of our business over the long-term,” Dow Chief Executive Jim Fitterling said in the statement.

“We continue to stay focused on delivering strong cash flow, strengthening our financial profile and maximizing our operational advantages.”

The charges reflect severance and benefit costs; costs tied to exit and disposal activities; and asset write-downs and write-offs, Dow said.

Dow said it remained on track to achieve its target of $1.25 billion of capital expenditures in 2020, down from $2 billion in 2019.

The company also said on Wednesday that it would close the sale of its rail-infrastructure assets at six North American sites to Watco, three months earlier than planned. The sale proceeds exceed $310 million. Watco is the Pittsburg, Kan., transportation-services provider.

Earlier this month Dow