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Thousands of Shell workers asked to reapply for their jobs

Daily Telegraph

Wednesday 14 October 2009

A “few thousand” employees at Royal Dutch Shell have been asked to submit applications for their own jobs, as BP predicts stable oil prices over the next few years.

Peter Voser, chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, said the group was continuing with a review of its refineries business Photo: Bloomberg News

Peter Voser, the Anglo-Dutch group’s new chief executive, said at an oil conference in London that staff had been invited to reapply for their jobs, but he would not say how many positions would be lost.

Mr Voser also said the group was continuing with a review of its refineries business, although he said that the current climate for asset sales was “challenging.”

“We are moving forward on all of the other assets we have identified. We will divest for value,” he said.

At the same conference, Christof Ruhl, BP’s chief economist, said that he did not believe that oil prices would spike in the next two to three years. He argued that rising spare capacity and relatively low demand growth would create a glut of oil. “There will soon be 6m barrels per day (bpd) of spare production capacity,” Mr Ruhl said.

“In the good years, global demand was rising by 1.2m bpd each year, so even if the good years were to return tomorrow, it would still take more than three years to burn through that spare capacity and to create markets as tense as they were a year ago.”

The crude oil price hit an all time high of $147 in July last year, as worries persisted over supply meeting future demand.

However, the credit crisis caused demand to slump and the oil price collapsed to below $40 dollars a barrel early this year. In London, Brent crude for December delivery was up 48c at $72.51 in late trading.

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