Shell to cut 140 jobs in Norway

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Major Dutch oil company Shell has become the latest to cut more jobs in Norway. Around 140 positions will disappear and all employees are being given an opportunity to resign voluntarily in return for severance pay.

Shell operates the Draugen oil platform from Kristiansund on Norway's northwest coast, which may be spared some of the new job cuts. PHOTO: A/S Norske Shell/Heine Schjølberg

Shell operates the Draugen oil platform from Kristiansund on Norway’s northwest coast, which may be spared some of the new job cuts. PHOTO: A/S Norske Shell/Heine Schjølberg

State broadcaster NRK reported that employees at all of Shell’s divisions in Norway were informed of the looming job cuts at a meeting on Wednesday. It remained unclear how many of them may lose their jobs, and where all the cuts will be made.

“This is challenging and demanding for all of us,” said Tor Arnesen, chief executive of A/S Norske Shell, “but the changes are necessary to secure our competitiveness.”

He claimed Shell will continue to be an “active operator” on Norwegian oil fields and “have the capacity to meet future challenges.”

The west coast city of Kristiansund is one of Shell’s main bases in Norway. Around 600 people also work at Shell’s main office at Risavika in Tananger, not far from Stavanger on the west coast.

The cuts reflect not only the slowdown in the oil and gas industry but also Shell’s merger of BG Norge and Norske Shell in Norway. Shell took over BG, the former British Gas, more than a year ago, in a move that also cost former Statoil CEO Helge Lund his job, because he’d just taken over as BG’s new chief executive.

The combined company in Norway will operate the fields Ormen Lange, Draugen, Knarr and Gaupe on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The two companies currently have a total of around 820 employees. Around 140 of those positions will be cut.

Jan Soppeland, communications director for Shell in Norway, told NRK that most of the cuts will likely be made in administrative functions, “which we have too many of in relation to the projects and type of work we have now. Most of that will hit our main office in Stavanger.”

He said that Kristiansund “will be spared somewhat because that’s where our operations center lies. That’s where we operate Draugen and partly Ormen Lange, and that part of the operations are closely tied to production of oil and gas.”

The cuts follow an earlier elimination of 120 jobs last year, 100 of which were made at Risavika and 20 in Kristiansund. Shell also cut its contract workers and consultants by around 140 in Stavanger, Kristiansund and Nyhamna.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund