PINEDALE (WNE) — A “very depressed” natural gas market and gloomy forecasts brought about reorganization at Jonah Energy, leading the company to let 16 employees go last Thursday. Of the 16 employees, 11 had worked in the Sublette County office and five were employed in Denver, Jonah Energy’s Director of Governmental Affairs Paul Ulrich said.

“We have strongly seen the need for the last few months to reorganize … to respond to very low natural gas prices,” he said. “The next five years’ forecasts are challenging to all gas producers in Wyoming. It means making some very hard decisions.”

Ulrich said the company decided to focus on “core operations in Denver and Pinedale” and the elimination of 16 employees would allow Jonah Energy “to remain competitive in the face of the longstanding downturn in natural gas prices.”

“We truly reorganized and a number of positions didn’t fit in with the reorganization and we had to eliminate those positions,” he said.

The company did provide the departed employees with severance packages that included short-term medical benefits and previously planned bonuses. As for the remaining employees, Ulrich said some changes were made to their “very robust” benefits packages “that simply brought us more in line with industry standards for paid time off and vacations.”

Ulrich added that Rocky Mountain natural-gas producers are facing “fierce competition” from regions where natural gas is an inexpensive byproduct of oil production; here producers are drilling just for natural gas.

Jonah Energy remains “very financially viable” and plans to continue with four rigs in the Jonah Field and begin exploratory drilling in the Normally Pressured Lance Field, Ulrich added.


From Wyoming News Exchange newspapers