Jackup drilling rig
Jackup drilling rig of the type that Schlumberger servicesReuters

Schlumberger is the latest in a long line of energy companies to significantly cut back on its workforce amid oil prices plunging 60% over the last six months.

The world's largest oilfield services provider confirmed it will cut 7% of its workforce, equivalent to 9,000 jobs, as it aims to remain profitable amid oil prices crashing to around $48 per barrel (bbl).

The plunge in oil prices have hit energy companies hard over the last six months, causing swathes of groups to cancel projects and cut back on staff, in a bid to remain profitable.

Brent futures contract is hovering around $48.38/bbl while US crude oil is still around a six year low of $46.50/bbl.

In stark contrast to current figures, back in 2013 and 2012 oil prices averaged $100/bbl.

In the summer of 2014, oil peaked at $115/bbl.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) warned on 16 January that oil prices could remain low until as late as the second half of 2015.

"How low the market's floor will be is anybody's guess. But the sell-off is having an impact," said the IEA in its monthly oil market update note.

"A price recovery – barring any major disruption – may not be imminent, but signs are mounting that the tide will turn."

"A rebalancing may begin to occur in the second half of the year," said the agency, which advises major industrialised countries on energy policy.

BP told workers on 15 January that it will axe 200 jobs and 100 contractor roles that are involved in its North Sea operations.

The energy company employs around 4,000 staff in the North Sea, with a total of 15,000 in the UK.

Shell and Chevron have also slashed headcount.