The world’s largest oilfield service provider, Schlumberger, might cut employee numbers in the north-east, it emerged yesterday.
A British spokeswoman for the company said that, in the current challenging economic climate, it was looking at the most effective ways of managing its resources in the UK and throughout its operations worldwide.
She added, however, that it was too early to say if jobs would go in the Aberdeen area, where it employs more than 2,000 people.
Schlumberger revealed this week it was planning to shed 5% of its North American workforce, or 1,000 jobs, and was looking at reductions elsewhere. It has more than 84,000 workers in about 80 countries, with around 4,000 of them in the UK.
Stephen Harris, a US spokesman for Schlumberger, said the reductions had already started in North America, where the industry faced a particularly sharp downturn in drilling activity.
Schlumberger, with principal offices in Houston, Paris and The Hague, said last month that its 2008 profits would be below the average Wall Street forecast. It blamed the economic slump and its effect on oil and gas exploration and production.
Chief executive Andrew Gould said at the time: “We have been consistent in our view that our results would be affected in the event of a severe global economic downturn, which we are now facing, however, we still maintain that in the longer term, the fundamentals of our industry are sound.”
Despite the slowdown and a dramatic drop in energy prices since the middle of 2008, few job losses have been announced by firms in the oil and gas business.
Schlumberger is to unveil fourth-quarter results on Friday, January 23.
Just two months ago, it hailed the opening of a £470,000 extension to an operations support centre in Aberdeen, saying it was the result of business growth in the north-east.
Katy Heidenreich, the group’s North Sea real-time business-development manager, said the investment at Schlumberger’s drilling and measurement division in Kirkton Avenue, Dyce, would also help to centralise expertise. She said it was also a signal of the group’s long-term commitment to the North Sea, where it had many years of experience.