Halliburton - one of the top oilfield service providers in the US said Tuesday that it will furlough around 3,500 of it's Houston employees for 60 days as shale producers look for ways to reduce spending as oil prices collapse.
Reportedly, these staff members will alternate working one week on / one week off during this 2 month period.
While at work, these employees will keep their benefits, though they will not be paid for weeks not at work, according to a spokesperson.
"We believe moving to this schedule will allow us to best manage costs and provide full benefits to our employees during this difficult market," Halliburton spokeswoman Emily Mir said in a statement.
Halliburton's stock has fallen around 70% in the past four weeks, to $6.14. The firm already took a series of aggressive cost-cutting measures last year due to flat oil prices and slowing producer spending, including multiple rounds of job cuts ( 800 in Oklahoma & 650 additional jobs)
Halliburton is not alone.
Most all North American shale producers have been hard at work this month cutting 25-50% of their spending as demand has taken a massive drop due to fears to the coronavirus and as well a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Though West Texas Intermediate crude has only seen it's dramatic price drop for a week, some are already warning that energy workers could see layoffs sometime soon if oil doesn’t rebound.
"A sustained drop in oil prices would cost the sector 50,000-75,000 jobs if employment returned to its low from a few years ago," Nathan Sheets, chief economist at PGIM Fixed Income, wrote in an email to CNBC.
As of Tuesday, U.S. oil prices are down to $26.74 a barrel - a dramatic fall to less than half of the $61 a barrel in seen just last December.