The economic damage caused by the COVID-19 problem has hit home with Stephenville’s TechnipFMC, which has reduced its workforce by 30 percent.

The company announced the personnel cutbacks in an email that stated, “The drastic drop in market activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic and declining demand for oil and gas has resulted in a number of difficult organizational changes, including the elimination of office and shop positions at our Stephenville, Texas, facility. These difficult decisions are made with the highest sensitivity in terms of how they will impact our employees, their families, our customers, and communities where we operate.”

Chris Moore, TechnipFMC’s vice president of manufacturing, stated in the news release, “This unprecedented situation has created a challenging environment for our business and the industry, requiring us to make hard choices to ensure we can continue to support and serve our customers. We appreciate the many contributions these employees made to TechnipFMC, and we are committed to treating all employees with the utmost respect and dignity.”

The cutbacks came over a two-day period late last week.

“We reduced our Stephenville site workforce by 30 percent over the past two days to better match our revised 2020 business outlook and customer activity,” the announcement explained. “Despite the difficult actions that TechnipFMC is taking, the company is doing all it can to help affected employees pursue new career opportunities during this challenging time.”

July Danley, president and CEO of the Stephenville Chamber of Commerce, said that TechnipFMC ranks second in Stephenville behind only Tarleton State University in the number of local employees.

“TechnipFMC is an integral employer and longtime committed partner in our community,” Danley said. “They have weathered the volatility of many significant ups and downs in the oil industry over the last 40 years and we know they will survive this downturn and come back strong again.”

The Empire-Tribune reported four years ago (March of 2016) that the company, then known as FMC Technologies, laid off 13 percent of its workforce in Stephenville. That article noted that it was the fourth round of layoffs there since 2015, with the company eliminating 22 percent of its local jobs during that period. Those layoffs were attributed to a reduction of the number of oil and gas rigs operating in the U.S.

In June of 2019, Moore told the E-T that the company had eliminated seven percent of its local workforce “to adjust our business to the current market level.”

TechnipFMC’s local plant manufactures a variety of products used in the oil and gas industry. The corporation’s website states that it has 40 facilities across the United States, with 37,000 employees, and also conducts business in Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.