Maersk Drilling is to make hundreds of North Sea workers redundant due to cancelled or delayed rig contracts brought about by the Covid-19 crisis and oil price crash.

Maersk Drilling said on Friday it is starting consultations with trade unions and employee representatives about job cuts in Denmark, Norway and the UK.

Chief executive Jorn Madsen said he expects the consultations will lead to 250 to 300 redundancies.

Maersk said delayed or cancelled tenders and projects have adversely affected commercial prospects.

“Though it’s standard practice in our industry to adjust our workforce to activity levels, it never feels right to say goodbye to good colleagues, especially when so many have walked the extra mile to keep operations running in these very difficult circumstances,” said Madsen.

“However, it’s our responsibility to safeguard our business and we are now taking steps to maintain competitiveness in the challenging market environment.”

The individual processes will follow different timelines in compliance with local regulations in Denmark, Norway and the UK.

Among work that has been lost are contracts with Shell off Trinidad & Tobago and with Aker BP off Norway.