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Chevron to lay off 6-7,000 as oil price plunge hits

[NEW YORK] US oil giant Chevron said Friday it was going to cut between 6,000 and 7,000 jobs and continue with asset sales as the company retrenches amid sharply lower oil prices.

The layoffs equate to about 10 per cent of its workforce, and come after the company already announced in July cuts of 1,500 jobs.

Chevron also said it would pursue further asset sales, expecting to raise US$5-10 billion through 2017 after bringing in US$11 billion from sales over the past two years.

The company is slicing capital expenditures next year by 25 per cent to US$28 billion at most.

"We expect further reductions in spending for 2017 and 2018, to the US$20 to US$24 billion range, depending on business conditions at the time," chairman and chief executive John Watson said in a statement.

"With the lower investment, we anticipate reducing our employee workforce by 6-7,000." The US oil major reported a 63.6 per cent fall in earnings to US$2.04 billion in the quarter to September 30 compared to a year ago.

Upstream earnings - the exploration and production part of the business - barely cleared a profit, with just US$59 million, against US$4.65 billion a year ago.

Holding up profits were downstream operations, which earned US$2.21 billion.