Schlumberger cuts 9,000 jobs due to low oil prices

A Swiss court has ordered an Israeli oil firm to pay Iran $1.1 billion in compensation over a joint venture from before the 1979 Islamic revolution, state news agency IRNA said Thursday (AFP Photo/David Mcnew) (Getty/AFP/File)

New York (AFP) - Oil services company Schlumberger Thursday said it was firing 9,000 workers due to plunging oil prices that have forced petroleum companies to cut drilling budgets.

Schlumberger disclosed the job cuts as it reported sharply lower fourth-quarter earnings in the wake of a more than 50 percent fall in oil prices since June. The job cuts account for about 7.5 percent of Schlumberger's global workforce.

Schlumberger's fourth-quarter earnings came in at $302 million, down 82 percent from the year-ago level. Revenues rose 6.2 percent to $12.6 billion.

The big drop was due to $1.8 billion in a series of one-time charges related to the steep fall in commodity prices.

These were: a $296 million charge for the 9,000 job cuts; a $590 million write-down of seismic assets due to a restructuring compelled by lower prices; a $472 million devaluation charge in Venezuela; and a $199 million write-down of oilfield assets in Texas whose value has fallen due to lower oil prices.

"In this uncertain environment, we continue to focus on what we can control," said chief executive Paal Kibsgaard.

"We have already taken a number of actions to restructure and resize our organization that has led us to record a number of charges in the fourth quarter."

Schlumberger shares rose 0.4 percent in after-hours trade.