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Schlumberger shuts down - 60 employees lose their jobs

"Yes, we will close in Vechta at the end of the year." A message that location manager Jörn Borchardt obviously finds difficult to pass on. If US company Schlumberger gives up one of its German locations, then that will be the result of continuously falling order volumes, explained Borchardt. "In the past ten years, due to the situation on the natural gas and oil market, we have always had to struggle with sharply declining numbers. Now there was the corona pandemic and the slump in the world oil market ...."

Like the parent company, the branch in Vechta is also active in the area of ​​services and product sales for everything to do with oil or gas fields or in the area of ​​geothermal energy. "The employees have been familiar with the difficult situation at the site for years," says Borchardt. "We were constantly under pressure. Consolidation and cost-cutting measures were implemented again and again." These measures were also reflected in the number of employees. Older figures can be found on the Internet that attribute more than 240 employees to the branch.

At the beginning of May the decision was made to close Vechta

At the beginning of May the decision was made to close Vechta. Since then, there has been "very good talks" with the works council, says Borchardt, describing his impression of the atmosphere between employer and employees. Borchardt is skeptical about whether employees can be offered jobs in other Schlumberger companies in these negotiations and does not think so.

Schlumberger has a spacious company site on Rudolf-Diesel-Straße in Vechta. In the picture the rear view of the main building. Photo: Kühn

According to the information on the Group's international website, Schlumberger has only a few other German locations besides Vechta. OneSubsea GmbH, which belongs to the major corporation, and a Schlumberger office are located in the city of Celle, also known as "Houston of Germany", while "Schlumberger Information Solutions" have branches in Hanover and Aachen. The remaining locations are currently not threatened with closure, says Borchardt.

Representatives of the works council could not be reached for a statement on Thursday.

Schlumberger has massively cut jobs around the world

Schlumberger is suffering massively from the global drop in oil prices and the discussion about the controversial fracking. Tens of thousands of jobs have been cut worldwide. In 2017, the M-I Swaco company with 130 employees was shut down in Celle. The Vechta location, to which workshops were relocated, benefited from this at the time. As early as 2015, when the fracking discussion emerged, Vechta was obviously facing closure. The management expressed this fear publicly at the time.

According to the latest annual report, Schlumberger offers its products and services in more than 120 countries, including through a large number of controlled companies. 105,000 people work for the group worldwide. According to the company, it has the most comprehensive range of products and services in the industry - from exploration and production to integrated solutions and the pipeline.

CEO strives to increase sales and profits

Schlumberger Limited has main offices in Paris, Houston, London and The Hague. In 2019, the group had sales of 32.92 billion US dollars. CEO Olivier Le Peuch recently complained of hardly any increase in sales and low margins Increasing profits are a strategic goal for him.