Subsea engineer to cut 430 UK jobs amid oil slump

Offshore engineering firm Subsea 7 has announced plans to cut up to 430 jobs in the UK, mostly in Aberdeen.

The oil industry downturn is claiming more jobs at Subsea 7. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
The oil industry downturn is claiming more jobs at Subsea 7. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

The company said the job cuts were due to “continued difficult business and economic conditions in the oil and gas market”.

Subsea 7 plans to cut its 9,200-strong worldwide workforce by 1,200 by early next year, and remove five vessels from its fleet.

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The firm said consultations with staff in the UK, based in Aberdeen, Glasgow and London, have begun. The changes are expected to bring $350 million (£240m) in savings.

Last year, the company cut up to 410 UK jobs as part of a 2,500 reduction in staff worldwide.

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Phil Simons, vice-president for UK and Canada, said: “Today’s difficult decision is a regrettable consequence of the prolonged and challenging environment the oil and gas supply chain is now experiencing, particularly in the north-east of Scotland.

“Unfortunately, the rapid decline in project awards, increased cost pressures and market unpredictability necessitates further streamlining of our structure and processes to protect our business and the skilled services we provide.”

He added: “I understand the dramatic impact these changes will have on our workforce and their families. I wish to reassure them that we will do all we can to support them through this process, to ensure they are treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity during this difficult time.

“Every effort will be made to limit the number of compulsory redundancies.”

Subsea 7 chief executive Jean Cahuzac said: “The reduction in the size of our workforce is a necessary step to maintain our competitiveness and protect our core offering through the oil price cycle. We remain confident in the long-term future for deep water oil and gas production.”

Neil Gordon, the chief executive of industry body Subsea UK, said the job losses – while “hugely disappointing and devastating” for affected staff – “don’t come as a surprise”.

He added: “Our recent survey revealed that most subsea companies have seen a fall in revenues as a result of project delays or cancellations. There is no doubt there will be further job losses in subsea this year as the impact trickles down the supply chain.

“Companies have to reduce costs, which inevitably involves cutting jobs, but we must be careful that we are not cutting too deeply into our capability, losing valuable skills we will need in the recovery, albeit a recovery that is going to be much slower than in previous downturns.”