Blackstone natural,energy companies close as prices drop

Blackstone, a private equity firm, said it would close its natural gas operations in the U.S. after falling to a record low of $2.20 per million British thermal units, its lowest price in four years.

Blackstone also said it will cut 1,200 jobs in the energy sector as it looks to focus on gas as the world’s largest consumer.

The U.K.-based company has been struggling for years to reduce costs and make investments that would keep its natural-gas business alive.

Blackston, a unit of British oil group BG Group, said on Thursday it was also cutting 1,300 jobs as it seeks to reduce expenses.

The company said it expects the natural-gases business to return to its pre-financial crisis levels in the coming years.

BG Group has been a target of U.N. sanctions over the company’s role in the Iraq War and its role in a 2008 gas leak that killed dozens of people.

Blackstone said it has seen a 25 percent increase in demand for its natural gases and expects that to continue this year.

Blackstones share price rose nearly 5 percent on Thursday.

The gas companies said that it is likely that most of the 1,400 jobs cut will be in the utility and energy sectors.

They are also expected to cut about 1,600 jobs in energy-related positions.