May 23, 2017 04:19 PM

The future of Fugro USA Marine’s Lafayette operations was all the buzz at the Lafayette Economic Development Authority’s May 9 Job Fair. The rampant speculation had it that the company division, which employs approximately 135 local workers — many of those jobs dependent on a vibrant oil and gas industry — was sending most of its Lafayette workforce to Houston.

Thankfully, that’s not happening, but a memo spelling out a realignment currently underway for the local Fugro operations indicates there will be job losses in Lafayette. That means yet another blow to the Lafayette MSA, which has already lost 6,500 jobs (2,200 direct energy positions) since March of last year and a whopping 23,500 jobs (9,500 in energy) since the price of oil took a nosedive in 2014, according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission. The MSA also takes in St. Martin, Iberia, Acadia and Vermilion parishes.

In an effort to develop and strengthen the company’s asset integrity business and improve customer satisfaction, according to a May 10 memo by Blaine Thibodeaux, managing director of the Lafayette office for Fugro USA Marine, one of the company's service lines is being consolidated in Houston. “We are maintaining a Fugro Resources & Logistics Office here in Lafayette as well as our R&D team and Geophysical group in Lafayette,” Thibodeaux writes.

The transfers are part of a company-wide reorganization.

In a followup phone call with ABiz, Thibodeaux says his division is being downsized by approximately 20 percent through transfers and layoffs, but he was unable to put a specific time frame on when the workforce reduction will be finalized. Ten employees have already been offered transfers to Houston, he says.

Fugro USA Marine, located at 200 Dulles Drive, is a part of a Netherlands-based multinational public company providing geotechnical, survey, subsea and geoscience services mostly to oil and gas entities. It also serves power, building and infrastructure, and mining companies. The group previously operated locally as Fugro Chance, a name that reflected its 1992 purchase of the then-35-year-old Lafayette-based survey company, John E. Chance & Associates.

[Editor's Note: The name of the company division has been corrected from an earlier version referring to it as Fugro Chance. The story has also been updated with new details from Thibodeaux.]

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