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Shell layoffs hit New Orleans as oil prices dive

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Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 22.49.59By Jennifer Larino, | The Times-Picayune: 19 August 2015

Layoffs are starting to hit New Orleans as Royal Dutch Shell moves forward with plans to eliminate 6,500 jobs worldwide. The cuts come as Shell seeks to cut costs amid lower oil and gas prices.

Shell spokeswoman Kimberly Windon confirmed in an email the company has started to cut jobs at its New Orleans and Houston offices, though it is not providing a “specific breakdown of workforce numbers.”

About 2,300 Shell employees and contractors are at One Shell Square on Poydras Street, and the majority support Shell’s drilling and exploration operations in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Windon said the deepwater segment “continues to be an important part of the Shell global portfolio.”

“We had to make some difficult decisions in an effort to reduce costs while seeking opportunities to improve efficiencies and ensure long-term competitiveness and profitability,” Windon said.

According to sources at One Shell Square, employees and contractors in New Orleans were told earlier this month that Shell plans a 30 percent cut to its local workforce by November. The sources asked not to be named out of concern for their jobs.

Sources said Shell has started to offer severance packages to senior workers. 

Windon said the New Orleans cuts are “part of a global reduction” and, as such, the company is not disclosing workforce numbers specific to each market.

Royal Dutch Shell, based in Holland, said July 30 it would cut its capital investment and reduce its global workforce by 6,500 positions as falling oil prices continue to undercut profit. Shell employs about 94,000 worldwide.

Shell reported $3.8 billion in second quarter earnings, down from $6.1 billion during the same period in 2014.

Oil prices reached $40.77 per barrel in futures trading Wednesday morning — their lowest level since March 2009 and down from $92 a year ago.

Read the full email statement from Shell spokeswoman Kimberly Windon.


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