ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska oil field contractor plans to lay off 304 workers as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hurt the state’s oil industry, the company said.
Doyon Drilling, a subsidiary of Interior Alaska Native Regional Corporation Doyon Ltd., informed state regulators of the job losses last week.
The company’s staff reductions will remain permanent until the industry recovers from the economic crisis sparked by the outbreak of COVID-19, Doyon Drilling General Manager Ron Wilson said in an April 30 letter.
Doyon Drilling is demobilizing its rig fleet because of “the unforeseen business circumstances resulting from the sudden and dramatic effects of the coronavirus outbreak, the declaration of a national emergency and the drop in oil prices on our business and client’s operation,” Wilson wrote.
Doyon’s layoffs began April 7 and are expected to continue through the end of May, Wilson’s letter said.
Doyon officials did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.
Doyon Drilling provides rigs and services to ConocoPhillips Co. and other oil companies.
ConocoPhillips announced in early April the company was halting its North Slope drilling program to prevent the virus from spreading at remote oilfield camps with limited medical services.
A global crash in demand for oil tied to the pandemic has caused the price of the commodity to plummet. Alaska North Slope crude was as high as $57 a barrel in February before falling to $13 last week.
Other major oil field service companies previously notified the state of more than 250 layoffs.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.