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Shell to axe hundreds of jobs in Aberdeen

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The Press and Journal (Aberdeen): Shell to axe hundreds of jobs in Aberdeen: STAFF AND CONTRACTORSWILL HEAR NEWS TODAY

BY IAN FORSYTH

Published: 23/04/2008

Oil giant Shell will today announce that around 300 jobs are to go in Aberdeen.

Shell Europe’s vice-president of exploration, Tom Botts, will break the news to workers in the Granite City this morning.

The company currently employs about 2,500 people out of Aberdeen – a mix of staff and contractors.

It is thought a range of posts onshore and offshore are being targeted to go by the end of the decade.

About 300 jobs will disappear, but it is anticipated the numbers actually being made redundant will reduce to around 200 after retirements and natural wastage are taken into account.

Shell, like other operators in UK waters, has seen huge increases in costs in recent years and wants to reduce its workforce as part of moves to remain competitive.

It has been selling assets in the North Sea and some of the job losses are related to the disposal of platforms.

However, Mr Botts is expected to emphasise Shell’s commitment to the area.

The company is currently responsible for around 15% of total North Sea investment and that is scheduled to rise to 19% in 2012.

A spokesman for Shell said yesterday: “Any announcement that Tom Botts plans for Wednesday will be made to staff first. Beyond that, we cannot make any comment at the moment.”

One Aberdeen staff member said of the impending job losses: “This is the first I have heard about this, but it comes as no great surprise considering the way things have been going with Shell in the North Sea.”

Graham Tran, regional officer with the Amicus arm of the Unite union, said: “This news totally vindicates my view about Shell’s lack of commitment to the UK.

“Recent months have been a worrying time for the Shell staff. The sooner this company leaves the North Sea, the better it will be for all concerned.”

Shell’s long-term commitment to the north-east was also questioned last June after it put part of its North Sea operation up for sale and scrapped plans for a £25million office expansion at its Tullos base in Aberdeen.

The scale of the proposed disposals, affecting around 8% of Shell’s daily oil output from the UK, sent shockwaves through the industry.

Shell warned at the time there were job cuts on the horizon, due to the reduction in its assets and its objective of being cost-competitive in its onshore organisation.

Following the disposal announcement, Shell and Exx-onMobil sold their majority stake in the North Sea Dunlin cluster to Fairfield Energy and Mitsubishi Energy.

sell-off

Fairfield acquired 70% of the Shell/Exxon holding, plus operation of Dunlin, while Mitsubishi gained 30%.

There were about 100 people attached to the Dunlin cluster – 29 employed by Shell, with the rest under contract to other firms.

Shell said all 29 Dunlin staff were transferring to Amec, which would act as dutyholder on behalf of Fairfield.

Last month, the sale of other North Sea assets by Shell and ExxonMobil also moved a step closer.

Exclusive negotiations had began with the Abu Dhabi national energy company TAQA for the interests in the Tern, Eider, Cormorant North, South Cormorant fields and related subsea satellite fields.

The assets – which were put up for sale last June – include four platforms employing about 130 Shell staff and about 500 contractors. It is not yet known how many of these would transfer to TAQA if a deal goes through.

Last October, BP said around 350 onshore jobs – 250 staff and 100 contractors – were to go from its North Sea operation as it moved to cut costs and simplify the organisation.

http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/603546/?UserKey=0

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