The world’s biggest oil and gas producers, already cutting hundreds of jobs a week from the UK’s North Sea, are just warming up. BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA are among those reducing staff, curbing investment or closing operations as oil prices that have fallen by half since June add to troubles from rising costs and aging resources. About 1,500 jobs have been lost in offshore oil and gas this year, according to Unite, Britain’s largest labor union. Ian Wood, author of a state-commissioned report into the needs of the offshore fossil-fuel business, warned that about 15,000 positions relying on the industry could disappear in months. “The 1,500 redundancies; that’s just the start,” John Taylor, Unite’s regional organizer, said by phone from Aberdeen, the Scottish city at the heart of the UK industry. “Half of that is drilling. There’ll be more construction workers later as projects come to an end in the next two months.”
Contractor Petrofac could be making a number of job losses after Marathon Oil said it would be reviewing how it maintained and operated its Brae field in the North Sea. The companies are currently in discussion following an announcement by the US firm last month that it would be implementing new maintenance strategies to address its “late Life operations”. In a letter to staff, Petrofac said it had been advised by Marathon that they anticipated a “significant reduction” in discretionary and project type activities on an annual basis.
BP will be reducing its headcount in Houston as it makes job reductions throughout its global operations. The oil major, which has already announced redundancies in the North Sea and Azerbaijan, has not revealed how many jobs will be lost. According to reports a number of employees were informed this week there jobs would be lost.
A taskforce formed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to deal with job losses in the North Sea will meet every month, it was announced yesterday. Industry and public sector leaders met with taskforce chairwoman Lena Wilson in a secret meeting at Aberdeen’s Ardoe House hotel yesterday to discuss job cuts which could affect thousands of North Sea workers. The location of the meeting was kept quiet in an effort to ensure the proceedings remained private. The Scottish Government has not revealed who the members of the task force panel are, although a list of companies including BP, Aker, Petrofac and Wood Group are said to have provided representatives.
Oil major BP has reduced its workforce in Azerbaijan by 8% following the global drop in crude prices. The company said around 225 jobs would go as it looks to streamline its business in the “challenging market environment”. Last year the company announced it would be making cuts of $1billion to its operational costs.
The first thing oilfield geophysicist Emmanuel Osakwe noticed when he arrived back at work before 8 a.m. last month after a short vacation was all the darkened offices. By that time of morning, the West Houston building of his oilfield services company was usually bustling with workers. A couple hours later, after a surprise call from Human Resources, Osakwe was adding to the emptiness: one of thousands of energy industry workers getting their pink slips as crude prices have plunged to less than $50 a barrel.
BP workers will tomorrow find out if cuts are to affect their jobs. The energy giant is soon expected to share findings of an exercise aimed at saving money.
A job cull at Cairn Energy has seen about two-fifths of staff and contractors axed, the Scottish oil explorer revealed. About 90 people have gone, although most chose to take voluntary redundancy. The cuts were made across Edinburgh-based Cairn’s international operations, and leave the company with around 190 staff and contractors.
Tullow Oil is said to be preparing to announce job cuts by the end of the first quarter as oil prices continue to fall. It was reported that the company, which owns assets in the North Sea, is currently reviewing staffing levels. Details of the cuts could be presented to the market next month.
Oil and gas news this week has understandably focused on the continued announcements of job losses across the industry. We’ve heard about it from the industry perspective, we’ve heard about it from the education perspective and across the board, the message seems to be “let’s get this into context”. From an oil and gas recruitment perspective, the message is similar – but with some additional insights on offer. Back in October, when initial contractor rates cuts were grabbing the headlines, we advised those looking to move job to sit tight as we were certain that the cuts would extend across industry, affecting most companies and encompassing staff personnel, too. No point in jumping from the frying pan into what turns out to be the fire.
SBM Offshore is set to cut 1200 jobs over the next two years as it looks to make $40million in savings. The contractor company will also move its headquarters to the Netherlands as weak market condition take hold. A spokesman for SBM Offshore said it was currently in the process of losing 600 contractor staff and an equal number of permanent staff. The total number of job losses would hit 1200.
Oil and gas giant ConocoPhillips confirmed it will cut up to 230 jobs in its North Sea operations after completing a review of its business. The Houston-based firm, which is poised to take over as the biggest oil producer in the North Sea in terms of production volume by the end of this year, said staff numbers in the UK would be cut from 1,649 staff and contractors to 1,419 my March of next year. The cuts will fall predominantly on Aberdeen where the firm employs around 1,100, including 700 permanent staff and 400 contractors.
The rate of job losses across BP in the UK and abroad will increase after dropping oil prices intensified the company’s simplification plans, the oil giant said. Some 15,000 of BP’s employees are based in the UK, while the company employs about 84,000 people worldwide. BP’s finance director Brian Gilvary is reported to have said: “What you’ll see with this simplification plan is that headcounts are starting to come down across all of our activities in upstream, downstream and in the corporate centres - essentially the layers above operations.”
A leading oil and gas company has cancelled Christmas parties for thousands of workers – because bosses fear upsetting colleagues who are losing their jobs. Aker Solutions, which employs more than 2,000 people in Aberdeen, called a halt to its annual festive celebrations to show “sympathy” with hundreds of staff in Norway who have been affected by cutbacks. The company is shedding posts in Stavanger, Bergen, Alesund, Kristiansund and Trondheim, but not in Aberdeen. Staff based in the north-east were reported to be upset at the decision to ditch the festivities. The oil and gas services firm has gone all-out in recent years to celebrate the festive season, hiring specialist party planners to run a family fun day at Ardoe House Hotel.
A North Sea gas field is set to create 1,500 Scottish jobs and boost the UK economy £1.3billion, it has been announced. Oxford University has released a report into the huge Cygnus gas project, which started drilling at its North Sea site yesterday.
Norwegian energy firm Statoil has confirmed it plans to cut an additional 500 jobs. The company confirmed the job losses would affect workers in DPN (development and production).