Chevron will lay off 350 workers in the Gulf of Mexico next year as it sells off all of its shallow water oil and gas fields and focuses on deeper prospects, the company said. Chevron's Gulf of Mexico operations hub in Covington is likely to bear the brunt of the cuts.

Company spokeswoman Leah Brown said in an email Chevron would begin selling mature properties on the shallower Outer Continental Shelf next year. The company plans to make a full exit from the Shelf by 2017.

Chevron will focus on "fewer, more complex assets" in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico moving forward.

Chevron is "restructuring its Gulf of Mexico organization to ensure we maintain a long-term, sustainable and competitive business in the Gulf of Mexico," Brown said.

"While our goal has been to lessen any effects on our workforce, we do expect a reduction of approximately 350 employees in 2016," she added.

Chevron joined a chorus of oil and gas giants earlier this year in announcing plans to cut jobs and overall spending amid low oil prices.

The company plans to eliminate 7,000 jobs worldwide, including about 1,500 layoffs this year. Chevron employs about 64,700 across the globe.

This is the first time Chevron has detailed anticipated cuts inside the Gulf of Mexico business unit, which is headquartered in Covington. The Covington office employs 730 workers, or about one-third of the unit.

Brown said the 2016 layoffs will affect Gulf of Mexico unit personnel at various Chevron locations, including Covington, Lafayette, Picayune, Miss., and Houston.

A company spokesman said in August that layoffs had begun at the Covington office, though he declined to detail how deep the cuts would be. Chevron later confirmed it halted plans to double the size of its 300,000-square-foot office campus in the Northpark development.

Brown said then there were no plans to consolidate the Covington office in Houston or elsewhere. 

Brown said Chevron "remains committed to safe exploration and development in the region."

"We will also continue to work with our partners across the Gulf to improve the social, environmental and economic vitality of the communities where we live and work," Brown said.

Source: - http://www.nola.com/business/index.ssf/2015/11/chevron_plans_gulf_of_mexico.html