A Kilgore institution – an American institution – is closing its doors here, and relocating those jobs elsewhere.
Halliburton, an oilfield services company known worldwide, has been here since 1950, but is closing the doors of the Kilgore portion of its operations. A company spokesperson on Thursday said the closing here, and a similar location in San Antonio, was related to reduced customer activity. Operations here will be consolidated with another of the company’s sites in Bossier City, Louisiana.
The move comes as oil prices have hit rock-bottom, with the COVID-19, or coronavirus partially to blame.
There were no mentions of the closings on Halliburton’s website, but Halliburton spokesperson Emily Mir responded to the News Herald’s request for a comment via e-mail.
“In response to reduced customer activity, beginning Wednesday, April 29, we will be relocating our Kilgore operations to our Bossier City field camp facility,” Mir wrote. “This decision takes advantage of Halliburton’s real estate footprint and will increase operational efficiencies across the Haynesville shale and adjacent oil and gas fields.
“We recognize that this decision will be a hardship for impacted employees, but unfortunately, this was a necessary decision to right size our organization to current market conditions.”
Kilgore Mayor Ronnie Spradlin was obviously tremendously disappointed in the news.
“I’m sure it’s something they’ve been planning, but they just informed us about it (Wednesday),” Spradlin told the News Herald Thursday morning. Spradlin said the rough estimate of jobs lost was 233.
“Halliburton has been here over 80 years, was one of our largest employers and sales tax generators,” he said. “In addition, we were one of their oldest sites, and one of their top training locations in the world. We hope this was purely financial, and that they’ll realize the value of looking at us as a training center and historic employment site.
“I don’t know of anywhere else you can draw on the experience, the training and the work ethic of the people like the people of Kilgore.”
According to the Longview News-Journal, a sister publication to the News Herald, Halliburton employs about 500 people in Gregg County alone.
According to the Associated Press in a story last week, Halliburton announced a net loss of $1.0 billion, or $1.16 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2020. This compares to net income for the first quarter of 2019 of $152 million, or $0.17 per diluted share.
Adjusted net income for the first quarter of 2020, excluding impairments and other charges and a loss on the early extinguishment of debt, was $270 million, or $0.31 per diluted share. This compares to adjusted net income for the first quarter of 2019, excluding impairments and other charges, of $201 million, or $0.23 per diluted share. Halliburton’s total revenue in the first quarter of 2020 was $5.0 billion, a 12% decrease from revenue of $5.7 billion in the first quarter of 2019. Reported operating loss was $571 million in the first quarter of 2020 compared to reported operating income of $365 million in the first quarter of 2019. Excluding impairments and other charges, adjusted operating income was $502 million in the first quarter of 2020, an 18% increase from adjusted operating income of $426 million in the first quarter of 2019.
“As the world is battling the COVID-19 pandemic, I thank our employees for their dedication and focus during these difficult times. The health and safety of our employees and their families is extremely important to me. We are monitoring the situation closely and following our own guidelines, as well as those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and state and local governments. On our customers’ work sites and within our facilities, Halliburton people are getting the job done, while taking the appropriate steps to protect themselves and others,” commented Jeff Miller, Chairman, President and CEO.
Halliburton celebrated its 100th birthday last week, founded in the early portions of the 20th Century by Erie P. Hallburton in Duncan, Okla. Halliburton’s rural start soon gave way to a boom that saw it become one of the world’s leaders – in addition to its operations in the United States, Halliburton also has locations in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.