November 24, 2023
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Venoco cuts workforce


Venoco, a Denver-based oil company with operations in the Tri-Counties, is laying off part of its workforce.

Government Relations Manager Steve Greig said the company was laying off “less than 10 percent” of its total workforce, which is split nearly half and half between Denver and Carpinteria. He declined to give an exact number of layoffs but said it was not great enough to trigger notification requirements to local officials, which usually apply when laying off 50 or more workers.

Venoco officials have hinted at potential job cuts since late 2012, when the company was taken private by founder Tim Marquez in a $471 million transaction. To help reduce the debt taken on for that deal, the company stepped back from the massive bet it had made on the Monterey shale in the Central Valley.

The company sold 109,000 acres of Monterey shale holdings. It kept 34,000 acres of onshore Monterey shale, much of it in the Santa Maria basin, along with its offshore holdings, which include three drilling rigs in the Santa Barbara Channel. It now intends to focus on its three largest fields, most of which are in the Tri-Counties.

“As a result, we reviewed our staffing to determine the size work force necessary to manage our concentrated efforts. Based on that review, we determined that a limited number of primarily administrative positions could be consolidated or eliminated,” Greig told the Business Times in a statement. “The employees of Venoco represent an extraordinarily talented group of individuals and it was difficult to say goodbye to any of them. However, we believed it was necessary to make some changes in order to better match our employee base with our current, smaller asset base.”

Venoco had $313.4 million in revenue in 2013. The oil company itself made a profit of $14.3 million last year, but the parent corporate created to hold its shares and finance the going-private deal had a loss of $28.4 million.