Marathon layoffs won't affect Kenai Peninsula

Posted: Thursday, September 18, 2003

ANCHORAGE Marathon Oil Co. will reduce its staff in Anchorage from 42 to 12 as part of a corporate restructuring. The company's operations in Kenai, however, will be largely unaffected.

Marathon has about 25 employees in Kenai who are mostly involved in gas production operations, according to Marathon spokesperson Paul Weeditz. When the consolidation is complete, the company will have 38 employees in Alaska, down from about 58 currently, he said.

The corporate consolidation comes just as the company starts up new gas production wells in the Ninilchik field 25 miles south of Kenai, on the Kenai Peninsula. Marathon is operator of the new field, which is owned 60 percent by Marathon and 40 percent by Unocal Corp. Marathon is also planning a new Cook Inlet exploration well this winter.

Many of the company's employees in Anchorage will be offered transfers to the company's Houston, Texas offices, but some positions will be eliminated, Weeditz said. John Barnes, Marathon's regional manager, will remain in Anchorage and be in charge of Alaska operations.

The number of employees who will be transferred and the number which will be laid off is uncertain because it isn't yet known how many of the people being offered transfers will accept them, Weeditz said. If a transfer isn't accepted, the affected employees might leave the company, he said.

No decision has been made on whether Marathon will move out of its current office space in the Calais I building in midtown Anchorage, Weeditz said.

"The broad purpose of this is to bring the company's management and support teams now dispersed in regional offices around the country together in one office," Weeditz said.

"We believe that by consolidating these positions in Houston and having this talent in one place we will realize significant gains in efficiency. When people are working together they share knowledge and experience, and that's important to us," he said.

Weeditz said said a variety of disciplines and support functions are involved in the consolidation. Reservoir engineers, subsurface geologists and people involved in project engineering and planning are the types of professionals who will be consolidated in the Houston offices, he said.

Marathon employees involved in production operations and project implementation will be among those remaining in Anchorage. Support functions such as accounting will also be transferred to Houston, Weeditz said.

Tim Bradner is a reporter for the Alaska Oil & Gas Reporter, which is based in Anchorage.

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