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Shell to cut up to 9,000 jobs due to slump in oil demand

Written by: Emma Lunn
The oil giant said the jobs reductions would include about 1,500 people who have agreed to take voluntary redundancy this year.

Royal Dutch Shell announced the news in a third quarter 2020 update and said the job cuts would be implemented by the end of 2022.

The update said: “Reduced organisational complexity, along with other measures, are expected to deliver sustainable annual cost savings of between $2 to $2.5bn by 2022. This will partially contribute to the announced underlying operating cost reduction of $3 to $4bn by the first quarter 2021.”

Royal Dutch Shell cut its dividend in April for the first time since World War Two following the collapse in global oil demand due to coronavirus.

Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden said: “We have had to act quickly and decisively and make some very tough financial decisions to ensure we remained resilient, including cutting the dividend. But as hard as they were, they were entirely the appropriate choices to make.

“It is very painful to know that you will end up saying goodbye to quite a few good people. I know I, and many others in Shell, will be saying goodbye to people we know well and really like and who have great loyalty to the company. But we are doing this because we have to, because it is the right thing to do for the future of the company.

“We have to be a simpler, more streamlined, more competitive organisation that is more nimble and able to respond to customers.

“We have looked closely at how we are organised and we feel that, in many places, we have too many layers in the company: too many levels between me, as the CEO, and the operators and technicians at our locations. We have also found that there are many people in the middle of our organisation who have a relatively small number of people reporting to them.”

Van Beurden said the company was also looking at other costs such as travel and the use of contractors.

Shell employs about 83,000 people worldwide, including 6,000 in the UK. It saw a 46% fall in first-quarter net income to $2.9bn (£2.3bn), while second-quarter income fell 82% to $638m.

The firm said third-quarter earnings were expected to be “at the lower end of the $800m to $875m range”.

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