Qatar’s oil-and-gas industry is expected to close out 2015 with more job cuts, this time at semi-state run RasGas.
The organization has not confirmed the layoffs or the number of people expected to go, but it is understood that around 250 of its expat staff will be affected starting this week.
When asked about the cuts, RasGas sent a statement to Doha News saying that “internal structural changes” were necessary due to “the current environment in the industry.”
“RasGas is always working to improve business performance and maintain our competitive position in the Oil and Gas market. Given the current environment in the industry, it is particularly important for us to manage and optimize our operating costs through internal structural changes, process improvements and project selection reviews, reflecting best practices in the industry,” the company said.
Plummeting global oil prices, which now stand around $44 a barrel, have forced a number of companies in the industry to review their expenditures.
Last month, Maersk Oil said in a statement that it was cutting its Qatar workforce by up to 12 percent, in line with its global headcount reduction, as it sheds 1,250 jobs of employees and contractors world-wide during 2015.
The move is part of an overall strategy to reduce the company’s operating costs some 20 percent by the end of 2016 and “follows an extensive internal review of business activities and continued low oil prices,” according to its statement.
The Qatar job losses would only affect non-nationals, a Maersk spokesman confirmed to Doha News.
In a statement, Maersk Oil CEO Jakob Thomasen said:
“We are operating in a materially changed oil price environment and have taken necessary decisions to reduce activity levels through 2015, and ensure we focus where we can see adequate returns from our most robust projects.
We expect the pressure to continue into 2016 and we must remain cost-focused to grow in this market. I commend our people for the improvements in our operating performance whilst we have been managing down costs across the organisation.”
The reported layoffs at RasGas are not unexpected. Its part-parent company QP has already cut what what is believed to be around 3,000 jobs during an eight-month corporate restructuring that began at the end of last year.
As part of its cull, several long-standing and experienced staffers apparently had their contracts terminated, including those over the official QP retirement age of 60.
Earlier this year, unnamed industry sources told Reuters that the job cuts to the organization’s 14,000-strong workforce could involve losing up to 30 percent of employees in some areas.
Announcing the end of the restructuring in June this year, QP CEO Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi refused to confirm the total number of staff lost, but did say that no Qatari nationals were affected.
At the time, Al-Kaabi also appeared to stop short of promising job security for staff at QP’s subsidiary companies, including RasGas, as well as QatarGas, Qatalum and QChem.
Have you been affected by the energy sector cuts? Thoughts?