An Aberdeen MP has said uncertainty from Shell is “deeply regrettable” as it plans up to 9,000 job cuts.
The oil major has announced it will reduce headcount by 7,000 – 9,000 roles globally by the end of 2022 in order to save $2billion – $2.5billion on an annualised basis.
Shell has declined to say how many of its 6,000 UK workforce will be affected, including the 1,000 employed by the Aberdeen-based upstream division.
Aberdeen South SNP MP Stephen Flynn spoke to the oil firm on Wednesday, seeking answers on the implications for the local workforce.
He said:: “I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Shell and it’s clear that they are currently unable to provide clarity as to the likely impact on the workforce in Aberdeen or indeed the wider UK at this time.
“Such uncertainty during the middle of a global pandemic is deeply regrettable and it is both my hope and expectation that workers will receive the assurances and support they need as soon as possible.
“I have been pressing the UK Government for months to recognise the need to urgently invest in a renewable future for Aberdeen in order to protect jobs and announcements like these must focus their minds.”
Meanwhile conservative member for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, Andrew Bowie, said the region must “hope for the best but prepare for the worst” following Shell’s announcement.
He expressed his hopes that the upcoming sector deal will aid the region’s virus recovery.
“On its own, the impact of record low price for oil and gas is causing most global oil firms to contract”, he said.
“Following Shell’s announcement, we must hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
“The effect of Covid-19 has only accelerated the downturn in operations.
“In evidence to the Scottish Affairs Committee, Oil and Gas UK predicted that 30,000 North Sea jobs could be cut by the end of next year.
“It is my hope this month’s formal proposal for an oil and gas sector deal will aid post-virus recovery in the North Sea, for workers in my constituency and the wider north-east.
“My Scottish colleagues and I have worked with ministers to speed up a deal to help protect jobs, secure the industry and lead the way for Scotland and the UK meeting our net-zero carbon commitments.”
A headcount reduction of 9,000 would represent around 10.5% of the 86,000-strong global Shell workforce. The firm said 1,500 of the cuts would be voluntary.
It comes as the firm tackles the impact of Covid-19 wiping out oil demand, which led to $18billion losses for Shell in July.
The firm is currently seeking to reposition for the energy transition.
Meanwhile North East Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald said he hoped Shell will recognise the importance of Aberdeen in that respect.
He said: “Shell like other oil majors is diversifying into new areas like renewable energy, but it is important that is not at the expense of jobs here in Aberdeen. Staff and contractors in the North East have contributed significantly to Shell’s profits from North Sea oil and gas over the last forty years.
“How Shell goes about shifting focus really matters, and looking forward I hope they will recognise and continue to support the energy expertise and technology in Aberdeen which can play a big part in the global energy transition.”