Chesapeake Energy lays off 200 Oklahoma employees

(Reuters) - Chesapeake Energy Corp, the debt-laden shale producer, has laid off 200 employees in Oklahoma, the state said on Thursday.

Half of the job cuts were at the company’s Oklahoma City headquarters and half were in the oilfield, according to the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development.

After years of oil growth, U.S. shale producers are slashing budgets and cutting employees in response to a collapse in oil prices as stay-at-home orders around the globe in response to the coronavirus pandemic keep people from driving and flying.

By December, the reductions could lop off 2.15 million barrels per day from pre-coronavirus production targets, consultancy Rystad Energy said.

“We continue to prudently manage our business and staffing levels to adapt to unprecedented market volatility and challenging commodity prices,” said Chesapeake spokesman Gordon Pennoyer.

SandRidge Energy Inc also will lay off 26 employees in Oklahoma City, it said in a Wednesday letter to the state.

Oil field service firms Baker Hughes Co and Halliburton Co have also had job cuts announced in Oklahoma this week. Baker Hughes cut 234 employees and Halliburton laid off 33 workers, according to filings with the state.

Chesapeake shareholders voted on Monday in favor of a reverse stock split, a move expected to boost its share price to avoid a delisting that could trigger calls for some immediate debt repayment.

Reporting by Jennifer Hiller; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Peter Cooney