Chesapeake Energy Corp. will cuts its workforce in North Texas by 8 percent, about 70 employees, as the energy producer reacts to continued low natural gas prices and shifts to more liquids-rich drilling and production.
Following the cuts, Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake will employ about 700 in the North Texas area, down from a peak at one time of 1,200.
In a letter to employees, Chesapeake noted that the company currently has two drillings rigs in the Barnett Shale will have only one or two in the foreseeable future, compared with 44 rigs during the peak of activity in 2008.
According to the release, the positions being released are "in support departments such as public affairs, marketing communications, community relations, legal, land, land administration, administrative services and information technology. These are the departments most directly impacted by reduced leasing and drilling activity."
Chesapeake officials also said that current area employees of Chesapeake Midstream Partners, in the midst of being sold to Global Infrastructure Partners, will move with the new company to the D.R. Horton tower in downtown Fort Worth. There are about 160 midstream employees in the Barnett Shale and about 60 of those have offices in Chesapeake Plaza. That move will probably take place in the summer, according to the company.
Regarding the rumored sale of Chesapeake Plaza, the letter from Julie Wilson, vice president of urban development for Chesapeake, said "[while] we will certainly remain open-minded to any offer that may come in, we are more interested in leasing some of the space that will be vacated and have been actively looking for tenants."
Chesapeake Energy is one of the largest producers in the dry-gas Barnett Shale, but has begun to focus on more liquids-rich plays such as the Eagle Ford Shale as natural gas prices have remained low.