Layoff rumours surround Schlumberger

Talk at this year's West Australian Basins Symposium has centred around the absence of some key Schlumberger personnel, amid rumours of a 1200 person layoff at the oilfield services giant. It is rumoured around 400 personnel have been earmarked for retrenchment in the Asia-Pacific region, which extends east from Dubai.

The company recently posted a US$21 million loss on its 70% share of the Western Geco seismic acquisition business.

Key staffers Steve Pickering and Keith Myers, who are based in Malaysia, were supposed to attend the WABS 3 conference in Perth, but according to reports, were advised to attend a high level Schlumberger meeting in Dubai.

It was thought to be a case of arguing the regional business case in person was a higher priority than the WABS conference, which at 450 registered delegates, has been considered a great success with two days remaining to run.

Schlumberger staffers at the conference could not confirm the rumour but said there was to be a press release issued tonight (Monday). It was not clear whether the impending press release was related to the layoff rumour.

A statement issued by the company when announcing its 3rd quarter loss said it was expecting the 4th quarter this year and the 1st quarter next year to be slower from a historical basis and foreshadowed cost cutting.

"As a result we will be evaluating our cost structure and taking the necessary actions to match costs to expected revenue," the company said.