Falling oil price costs another 100 jobs

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Another 100 workers in the oil industry in Stavanger got the bad news on Monday that they’re about to lose their jobs. The dive in oil prices continues to take its toll on Norway’s once-booming oil capital.

Oil service company Aibel was the latest to announce more job losses when it gathered employees for a meeting Monday morning. Fully 20 percent, or 100 of the 500 jobs in Aibel’s modifications division, are on the chopping block this time.

Newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad reported how the announcement is the latest in a string of cutbacks at Aibel and other firms. Aibel already has laid off around 700 workers at operations in Harstad, Bergen, Stjørdal and Stavanger.

The new cuts come even though Aibel has won contracts on Statoil’s huge new Johan Sverdrup oil field. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported last month that the contracts had boosted operations at Aibel’s shipyard in Haugesund, which was upgraded to do the work. Aibel was hiring in 400 to 500 workers, though, on a temporary basis.

Sverdrup also won some of the maintenance and modifications contracts awarded by Statoil, to a value of NOK 24 billion. Statoil extended its contract with Aibel for work on the Njord and Aasta Hansteen fields, which the company said would employ around 1,000 people. Aibel’s CEO Bjørn Tollefsen had told NRK that after “a tough time” he thought the contracts would bring some “calm” back to the organization.

Yet just a month later, Aibel is laying off again. The staff reductions in the modification division “are a result of the development in the market within this business area,” Aibel’s communications director Bjørg Sandal told Stavanger Aftenblad. Low oil prices have prompted oil companies to cut back on investments and exploration, and orders for work from service firms like Aibel have dried up.

Sandal said workers affected by the latest round of cuts would be called in for meetings with management during the rest of the month.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund