Shell to axe 180 jobs in Scotland

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The Independent Online

Royal Dutch Shell Plc said on Wednesday it is to cut 180 jobs in Aberdeen and review practices regarding contractors, as it sells oilfields in the North Sea.

The world's second-largest private oil company by market value said in a statement the cuts in office-based positions, representing 7 percent of its workforce in the Scottish city, were needed to keep its UK operations competitive in the face of rapidly rising industry costs.

Major oil companies such as Shell, BP Plc and Exxon Mobil have been selling assets and shedding jobs in the North Sea to focus on areas with greater exploration potential.

Last October, BP said it planned to cut its onshore North Sea workforce by almost 20 percent, a loss of 350 jobs.

UK-registered BP and Shell are sensitive to the accusation they are gradually exiting the North Sea which helped them retain their position as oil majors when they lost key assets in the Middle East in the 1960s and 1970s.

Despite the field sales and job cuts, the companies constantly assert their commitment to the area.

A spokeswoman denied Shell was scaling back its operations in the North Sea but declined to disclose whether investment in the mature oil province was rising or falling.

The Anglo-Dutch Shell company said it was committed to minimising compulsory redundancies but did not rule these out.

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