380 jobs at risk as Shell plans to close Glasgow office

About 380 jobs are at risk after Royal Dutch Shell said it would shut its Glasgow operation in response to the low oil price.

Shell said about 380 jobs are at risk at its Glasgow finance operation. Picture: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

The oil giant’s finance operation in the city will close by the first three months of 2018, as it looks to cut costs in the face of a 50 per cent drop in Brent crude prices from their peak in June 2014.

Shell, which employs 12,000 people globally, said it would relocate some positions to its other international centres but the number had not been decided.

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A spokesman said the company was taking “difficult choices” in order to “remain competitive” and the move was driven by “increasing pressures on our business to reduce cost and generate cash”.

He said the operations in Glasgow could be carried at other centres across the globe “but at a significantly lower cost”.

“Subject to employee consultation, we are proposing to close the Shell finance operations office in Glasgow and over the next 15 months, move its activities to our other locations in our global Shell Business Operations network,” he said.

“This will result in a small overall reduction in the number of jobs in Shell’s global finance operations. Employees currently based in the Glasgow office will likely face involuntary severance.

“We are making this announcement following a review of Shell’s global finance operations global network which concluded that we have an opportunity to further consolidate that network into fewer locations.”

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Staff were told about the closure of the Boswell Street office this morning, triggering the start of a 45-day consultation.

Shell launched the Glasgow office in 1998 to oversee areas such as financial reports and management information, government risk and assurance, and travel and expenditure.

Scottish Liberal Democrat energy spokesperson Liam McArthur said: “This news will be a devastating blow to those directly affected and their families. It is vital, therefore, that the Scottish Government and its agencies now work closely with Shell and staff representatives to support those impacted by this decision.

“We cannot afford to lose these skills and every effort must be made to provide training and advice to give workers the best chance to secure new roles. It is also important that Scottish and UK governments look again at the tax regime and take urgent action to stop decommissioning contracts floating away from Scotland to our international competitors.”

Oil is currently trading at about $46 a barrel, compared with $115 in June 2014.

Shell announced earlier this month that it had swung to profit in the third quarter, as a cost-cutting and divestment programme began to bear fruit.

The group said profits came in at $1.4 billion (£1.1bn), compared with a $6.1bn loss in the same period last year as the company also reaped the benefits of its acquisition of BG Group.