NORTH Sea oil workers have been left facing an uncertain future as the second wave of industry job cuts hit on Friday.
The world’s largest oilfield services company, Schlumberger, announced that 11,000 jobs would be cut from its global workforce.
“Given the high costs of operating in the UK Continental Shelf alongside the decline in oil price, in common with many other operators it’s a step the business has to take to ensure a sustainable and efficient organisation”Maersk Oil UK spokesman
It comes just months after the firm announced plans to slash 9,000 positions, bringing the total head count facing the axe in the cost cutting exercise to 20,000.
Chairman and CEO Paal Kibsgaard made the announcement as the firm reported its lowest first-quarter profit in four years.
The oil and gas industry has seen numerous cuts in recent months due to the slumped price of Brent crude coupled with rising production and operational costs.
Employees at two other oil firms also found out yesterday that they could be at risk of becoming the latest victims of cuts as firms attempt to reduce North Sea operating costs.
GE Oil and Gas, which has a base in Aberdeen, has started a “restructuring” process amid the industry downturn.
A spokesman for the firm said: “GE Oil and Gas has started restructuring projects to reduce the cost structure of the business.
“This includes proposals to reduce employment, which is a decision we don’t take lightly but one we must undertake for the long-term health of the business.”
The GE Oil and Gas spokesman added that any employees facing redundancy will be assisted in finding new employment.
He said: “We will provide affected employees with resources to transition to other employment, at GE or an outside company.
“Taking this action now will enable us to run our business more efficiently, remain competitive in a challenging environment and better meet the needs of our customers.”
GE Oil and Gas is one of the world’s leading equipment and service providers to the global offshore industry.
The firm employs around 45,000 people worldwide, with an estimated 85 per cent of offshore rigs using its drilling systems.
Maersk Oil UK starts consultation period
Meanwhile Maersk Oil UK has started a consultation period which could result in redundancies.
Staff were told at a Town Hall style meeting in Aberdeen on Thursday that between 30 and 35 onshore jobs could be affected while the number of contractors will be reduced by 19.
A Maersk Oil UK spokesman said, “This is a very difficult time for those colleagues affected, and they will be offered as much support as possible.
“Given the high costs of operating in the UK Continental Shelf alongside the decline in oil price, in common with many other operators it’s a step the business has to take to ensure a sustainable and efficient organisation.
“Any changes will be implemented without compromising the safety of our colleagues and the reliable operation of our assets.”
Oil giants BP and Shell are amongst those have already announced similar cuts and proposals in recent months.
Hundreds of oil and gas workers have lost their jobs within the last few months as a result of falling production levels.
Rising production costs coupled with the slump in Brent crude prices have put the squeeze on firms operating in the North Sea.
Brent crude dropped to a six-year low of under $50 a barrel in mid January from a high of around $115 per barrel last summer.
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