Consol Energy Inc. is laying off about 10 percent of its workforce, highlighting the pressures energy companies are under to cut costs as an oversupply of coal and natural gas pushes down prices.
The Cecil-based company is cutting about 290 jobs in its gas and corporate operations, and 180 workers in its Pennsylvania coal mines. The cuts are on top of 165 layoffs this spring in its gas exploration and production division and corporate support.
“We continually evaluate our workforce based on current and anticipated activity levels,” company spokesman Brian Aiello said. “These are very difficult but prudent decisions given the depressed nature of commodity prices.”
The company — which owns the largest underground coal mine complex in North America and this year became the state's 10th-largest shale gas producer by volume — is “taking aggressive action” to operate efficiently during the downturn and to be in a position to capitalize quickly when prices rebound, Aiello said.
The layoffs combine with other recent efforts by Consol to lower expenses, such as cutting retirees' health benefits, paring hours for coal workers and slashing its capital budget for drilling. The downturn in fossil fuel markets is happening as Consol has pivoted more into gas. Energy industry analysts — and even investors — seemed heartened by the company's move to cut jobs during challenging market conditions and prepare for a cyclical upswing. Consol stock closed at $20.03, up 12 cents on the day but less than half its 52-week high of $43.63.The rest of the article can be read by clicking here.
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