Trinidad Hit Hard by Layoffs

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  Trinidad is reeling from a mass layoff. KRCC's Dana Cronin reports.

Around 100 people are losing their jobs at the Pioneer Natural Resources branch in Trinidad. The Texas-based oil and gas company was the largest employer in the city, says Gabriel Engeland, Trinidad's City Manager, who adds that the layoffs are devastating both economically and socially.

"I think Trinidad now is really at a place where it has to find its identity," says Engelend. "If we’re not going to have the natural resource production in the area, then what replaces it? I don’t think we have an answer to that yet."

He says Trinidad officials are looking at impacts on the community, including everything from sales tax revenue to possible changes in school enrollment.

In a statement, Pioneer Natural Resources says the layoffs are due to a drop in natural gas and crude oil prices. The company plans to offer severance packages and other services.

The statement says the company’s work in the Raton Basin will now be managed from its home office in Dallas, and that it's also closing its Denver office. Of the 70 employees there, about one-third will be offered relocation possibilities. In Trinidad, the layoffs represent nearly half of Pioneer Natural Resources’ southern Colorado workforce.