Sudden Drop in Crude-Oil Prices Roils U.S. Energy Firms’ Rebound – WSJ

U.S. energy companies are planning more layoffs, asset sales and financial maneuvers to deal with a recent, sudden drop in U.S. crude-oil prices to under $50 a barrel, the lowest level in four months.The companies had been banking on a rebound in oil prices in the second half of 2015 after falling sharply late last year. Prices began to regain ground in the spring, rising so quickly that some American producers started hiring back drilling rigs to pump more crude. That speedy return to the oil patch and the threat of new Iranian oil production have pushed down prices more than 20% over the past six weeks to $48.14 as of Friday , bringing storm clouds back to the energy patch.Oil-field services providers that help drill wells have quietly revealed job cuts that were deeper than initially announced, and warned of more layoffs to come. Halliburton Co. and Baker Hughes Inc., two big service companies that plan to merge, disclosed last week that they had cut 27,000 jobs between them, double the 13,500 they announced in February.Initially, Halliburton expected to reduce its workforce by 8%, but ultimately cut it by 16%. Baker Hughes first announced it would cut about 10% of its jobs, but cut 21%.

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