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Conoco Cutting Nearly 1,000 Jobs

December 29, 1998

HOUSTON (AP) _ Conoco Inc., the latest company hit hard by plunging oil prices, said Tuesday it will eliminate 975 jobs next year as part of an effort to slash expenses by $500 million.

``We are expediting these plans to position the company to deal with the lingering problem of low crude oil prices,″ Conoco President Archie W. Dunham said. ``Regrettably, these actions will result in fewer jobs.″

The cost-cutting program, which would reduce Conoco’s spending by 22 percent, will result in a charge of $50 million against the company’s fourth-quarter earnings.

Conoco has about 16,000 regular employees and more than 27,000 full-time contractors worldwide. Company spokesman Carlton Adams would not disclose which employees face layoffs or in what cities they will be made.

``More detailed information will be available after the first of the year,″ he said. ``I don’t think any door is closed at this point.″

The sharp drop in crude oil prices to 12-year lows has been wreaking havoc on the oil industry, resulting in widespread layoffs and mergers as companies attempt to keep costs down.

Last month Texaco Inc. announced plans to cut 1,000 jobs in exploration and production in a restructuring that will save $200 million a year. The slump also helped lead to the marriage of Exxon Corp. and Mobil Corp., which expect $2.8 billion in cost savings by merging.

In another sign of trouble, Dallas-based oil service provider Halliburton Co. on Monday announced plans to lay off another 2,750 employees. The company had already announced 8,100 layoffs.

Conoco’s reorganization calls for about $1.3 billion of the company’s 1999 budget to be directed toward worldwide exploration, production and natural gas activities, $500 million less than in 1998.

Worldwide refining, marketing and transportation expenditures will be about $500 million, similar to 1998 spending.

To further cut costs, Conoco will combine some U.S. functions. The combined efforts are expected to save the company about $60 million annually.

Conoco, the nation’s ninth-largest oil company, was spun off by Delaware-based DuPont Co. earlier this year.

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