More than 100 jobs could be at risk at a North Sea drilling contractor following oil company Talisman Energy’s decision to put its platform drilling operations in the region on hold.
Sources close to Odfjell Drilling UK in Aberdeen said staff were informed 110 out of 175 offshore personnel will lose their jobs and a further 20-30 onshore staff will go.
Talisman Energy said yesterday it could confirm that it was to suspend its platform-based drilling programme in the North Sea.
It said it gave Odfjell Drilling (UK) notice of the decision, which was aligned with Talisman’s plans to reduce its capital spending this year in response to current market conditions and commodity prices.
The company said the suspension would take effect in May following the completion of two current projects on the Clyde and Claymore platforms. It added that Odfjell would continue to provide maintenance and well intervention support to Talisman’s UK offshore operations.
Chris Jones, human resources manager at Odfjell Drilling UK in Aberdeen, said the company received a letter from Talisman outlining the oil company’s plans. He said: “We are now negotiating and discussing with Talisman what is best for both parties.
“I cannot say anything about numbers. We will know more in a few days. We need to know the situation offshore before we can know if onshore jobs will be affected.”
It also emerged this week that more than 100 north-east jobs were at risk at international oil services company Baker Hughes Inteq.
The firm employs 417 people in the Aberdeen area, at Portlethen and Stoneywood, and is looking to make about 25% of its workforce redundant, onshore and offshore.
The world’s largest oilfield services provider – Schlumberger – might also cut staff in the north-east. A British spokeswoman said it is looking at how best to manage resources worldwide in the challenging economic climate.
Meanwhile, a total of 85 jobs have been safeguarded at a Buckie seafood factory just a month after its future was thrown into doubt.
Managers at Moray Seafoods announced plans to lay off 100 of the 135 staff in December after a downturn in orders from the foreign market.
Staff were told the shellfish processor and exporter would be winding down its production within a week. Processing was also suspended while the owners went back to the books.
With business now looking positive in the scampi sector, managing director Grant Eckersley said the firm will now only make 15 permanent staff redundant, securing 85 jobs for the Buckie area.
Mr Eckersley is the son of Charles Eckersley, who founded the firm 50 years ago. He runs it with his brother James.
He yesterday referred to local, long-standing employees as the “backbone” of the firm, and said they would be “protected from the downturns”.
He said: “We have cut back on agency workers considerably, having had over 30 last year and now operating with only a handful. However they are not employees, so they have no relevance to any redundancy.
“Our plan is to concentrate on the most robust and stable sector. However, we will cut back our export processing temporarily, as currently this is not seen as viable, due to both the lack of supply and demand for whole prawns.”
Job losses will include both salaried staff and factory workers across all sectors of the business.
Mr Eckersley said: “Any loss of employment is regrettable for those affected, however these changes are necessary in the best interests of the company going forward, and for the protection of the remaining 85 jobs.”
He added: “Despite the doom and gloom, our UK sales are relatively strong, and January’s opening order book is above our expectations”.