Unocal announced a streamlining of its U.S. oil and gas operations Friday that it said will eliminate a network of nearly two dozen small "area organizations," cut out two layers of management and lead to the closure of two Southern California offices.
The company said it expects to end up with about 50 fewer employees when the reorganization of the 2,800-member U.S. exploration and production division is completed. If more than that accept an early retirement offer, Unocal said it will hire replacements.
Most of the 100 employes in a Pasadena office being closed will be moved to Bakersfield or elsewhere, Unocal said. Employees in a small Santa Maria operation will be transferred to nearby Orcutt. The Los Angeles headquarters work force will be unaffected.
Unocal described the move as part of an effort to trim costs and push decision-making further down into the employee ranks to permit faster development of its natural gas reserves.
"This new structure will push authority levels deeper into the organization, increase hands-on management and shorten the time needed for key decisions," said H D Maxwell, president of the Unocal Oil & Gas division.
Unocal considers itself better positioned than many oil companies to exploit a growing market for natural gas. It claims gas reserves 15 times its annual production, above the industry average.
The parent of Union Oil Co. said it will form six new regional organizations based in Anchorage, Oklahoma City, Lafayette, La., Midland, Tex., Houston and Bakersfield. These will replace three existing regional and nine districts. Each region will function as a profit center, said Maxwell.