Shell is shedding hundreds of jobs from its UK upstream team over the next two years as part of the Anglo-Dutch supermajor’s wider plans to slash up to 9000 positions globally, in an effort to streamline its business amid the energy transition.


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The jobs being lost in the UK will largely affect the company’s Aberdeen office, with employee and contractor positions affected.

Between now and the end of 2022, there will be about 330 fewer positions in the UK upstream wing, which currently has around 1330 people employed or working in agency positions.

Upstream understands that Shell’s UK teams are being informed of the specific details of the job losses on Tuesday.

Aberdeen affected

Most of the positions to be lost will be office-based positions in Aberdeen, including both staff and contractors.

Offshore positions and workers at gas plants are broadly unaffected by the headcount reduction.

A significant number of the job losses are associated with activities that are set to conclude within the next few years, including the decommissioning of the Brent Charlie platform in the North Sea — the only platform still producing on the field.

Some positions will be cut as a result of investment projects’ completion, such as drilling and subsea work at the Penguins development and elsewhere in the North Sea.

Commenting on the job losses, a Shell spokesperson said: “We are undergoing and implementing a strategic review of the organisation, which intends to ensure we are set up to thrive throughout the energy transition and be a simpler organisation.

“As indicated last year, because of the efficiencies we expect to gain, we will reduce between 7000 and 9000 jobs globally by the end of 2022. We are on track with that process.”

UK still a core area

Referring to the expected global job cuts, Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden said in late September that “reducing cost is essential” for the company to be “competitive”.

He also said at that time that the figure of between 7000 and 9000 included about 1500 people who had already agreed to take voluntary redundancy last year.

“We have to be a simpler, more streamlined, more competitive organisation that is more nimble and able to respond to customers,” Van Beurden added at the time. “To be more nimble, we have to remove a certain amount of organisational complexity. In addition, we have to make sure we are making the best of the core capabilities we need to succeed.”

Despite the cuts in the UK upstream team, the UK remains one of Shell’s identified core territories going forward, alongside Brazil, the US (including the Gulf of Mexico and the Permian basin), Kazakhstan, Brunei, Malaysia, Oman and Nigeria.