Maersk Oil is axing 70 staff at its Houston office and moving its US exploration activity to its Copenhagen headquarters amid escalating costs that have hit the Danish oil company’s bottom line.
The company will also shift responsibility for its Wahoo and Itaipu projects off Brazil to Copenhagen, with the Houston-based team working on the schemes to be released from 1 November, as well as technical and support work.
Chief executive Jakob Thomasen said in an internal bulletin obtained by Upstream that Maersk had decided to scale back exploration in the Gulf of Mexico due to “the challenges of growing a non-operated exploration portfolio” in the region.
"Despite significant non-operated exploration drilling in the Gulf of Mexico in the last nine years, disappointing results and an escalating cost environment have led to this decision. This means that capital investments can now be utilised elsewhere in Maersk Oil’s global portfolio,” he said.
As a result, Maersk has decided to refocus the work of its Houston office and consolidate a number of activities within its global functions in Copenhagen.
However, the company intends to retain at the Houston office project teams working on its ongoing deep-water development schemes - Jack and Buckskin in the US Gulf, and Chissonga off Angola.
Thomasen said Maersk “remains fully committed to delivering our deep-water development projects” in line with its growth ambitions to 2020 and the Houston office would continue to play a “key role” in this regard.
He described as “regrettable” the redundancies that will mainly affect Houston-based staff working within exploration and geophysical imaging, which will also be transferred to Copenhagen.