Shell cuts jobs over North Sea profitability worries

Shell UK is to cut staff and agency jobs at its North Sea operations by at least 250 this year, over concerns about the field’s profitability.

The fuel giant said it will also introduce changes to UK North Sea offshore shift patterns.

The company said the measures are part of a range of initiatives to manage costs and improve competitiveness at its operations around the world.

Staff and agency contractors based in Aberdeen and on installations in the North Sea were informed of the plans at a meeting at the end of March.

It is understood that collapsing oil prices have put pressure on expensive North Sea operations, despite recent Government incentives.

“The North Sea has been a challenging operating environment for some time,” said Paul Goodfellow, Shell’s upstream vice president for the UK and Ireland.

“Reforms to the fiscal regime announced in the budget are a step in the right direction, but the industry must redouble its efforts to tackle costs and improve profitability if the North Sea is to continue to attract investment.

“Changes are vital if it is to be sustainable.”

The staff reduction is in addition to 250 job cuts by the firm in August 2014.

According to Oil and Gas UK, around 20 per cent of UK oil production is uneconomic at a $50 per barrel oil price.