Shell and Taqa say 350 North Sea jobs under threat

Shell say they are to cut 250 staff members and agency contractors. Picture: PA
Shell say they are to cut 250 staff members and agency contractors. Picture: PA
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OIL companies Shell and Taqa today said they would be cutting at least 350 jobs amid “challenging” times for the North Sea industry.

Shell said it plans to reduce the number of staff and agency contractors who support its UK North Sea operations by at least 250 this year. The company will also introduce changes to offshore shift patterns.

Staff and agency contractors based in Aberdeen and on installations in the North Sea were told about the plans during a meeting today.

Paul Goodfellow, Shell’s upstream vice-president for the UK and Ireland, said: “The North Sea has been a challenging operating environment for some time. Reforms to the fiscal regime announced in the Budget are a step in the right direction, but the industry must redouble its efforts to tackle costs and improve profitability if the North Sea is to continue to attract investment.

“Current market conditions make it even more important that we ensure our business is competitive. Changes are vital if it is to be sustainable. They will be implemented without compromising our commitment to the safety of our people and the integrity of our assets.”

Shell also said the oil and gas industry “urgently” needs to tackle the issue of rising costs after the price of a barrel of Brent crude has fallen by about a half since last summer. According to trade body Oil and Gas UK, about 20 per cent of UK production is uneconomic at a $50 per barrel oil price.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi oil company Taqa said it would be cutting about 100 North Sea onshore positions, out of a total of about 550.

The firm said: “As part of our focus to ensure Taqa’s sustainable future in the UK, regrettably it is necessary for us to scale back the number of people working with us. The impact of these changes will predominately be on contractors and consultants.

“We are currently proposing a reduction of around 100 onshore positions, but the process will take a number of weeks and involve consultation with our workforce. Our workforce are fully informed on the proposed changes and we will work to support and guide them through the process.”

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