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ConocoPhillips has begun telling its Scottish employees who among them will have to leave as part of a redundancy plan announced earlier this year, which will see up to 450 employees of the supermajor in the UK lose their jobs between October this year and April 2020.
The redundancies follow plans to halt production at a number of fields in the southern North Sea, which are served by the Theddlethorpe gas terminal. The plans are part of a wider rearrangement of priorities for the U.S. supermajor.
Earlier this month, Conoco and BP agreed to swap assets that will see the UK company expand its footprint in the North Sea while Conoco gains assets in Alaska. The move has led at least one analyst to suggest that the company could entirely leave the North Sea to focus on its business at home.
Luke Parker from Wood Mackenzie told Energy Voice that Conoco seemed to have “other priorities closer to home” than the North Sea fields. Indeed, Conoco has been expanding its presence in U.S. shale at a fast pace, and it recently announced a new discovery on Alaska’s North Slope.
At the time, a Conoco executive said the company could spend several billion dollars on developing the discovery, and now the asset swap with BP fits nicely with its renewed focus on Alaska, where it will acquire BP’s 39.2-percent interest in the Greater Kuparuk oil field and a 38-percent in Kuparuk Transportation Co.
In the UK, Conoco has interests in about a dozen fields and employs about 1,300 as staff members and contractors. Of these, 700 are based in Aberdeen. A spokeswoman for the company said they had started notifying employees about whether they have a future with Conoco or not. By the end of the month, the company will also get in touch with contractors to notify those among them that will have to look for business elsewhere.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.