Driller Helmerich & Payne Inc said it may cut 2,000 jobs as it begins to idle rigs amid a slide in crude oil prices, following similar cost cuts by top oilfield services providers Schlumberger NV and Baker Hughes Inc.
Helmerich, which had about 11,901 employees as of Sept. 30, also said it would now build only 2 high-tech FlexRigs per month this year, down from the 4 rigs it had planned.
The company's shares fell as much as 10 percent to $54 on Thursday as weak forecast for 2015 margins and revenue overshadowed a better-than-expected quarterly profit.
The 2015 forecast "reflects a severe opening blow from the global downturn," FBR Capital Markets analysts wrote in a note. Helmerich has benefited so far from robust shale drilling activity in the United States. The gains extended into the first quarter Dec. 31, but are now eroding.See disclaimer.