In this May 17, 2019, file photo, a car leaves a Shell station after getting gas in Sacramento, Calif. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Rich Pedroncelli

Shell plan to cut up to 9,000 jobs could result in 100s of fewer jobs in Canada

Shell’s presence in Canada was reduced in 2017 when it sold most of its Alberta oilsands assets

Hundreds of Canadian employees of Royal Dutch Shell could be affected by its plan revealed Wednesday to cut between 7,000 and 9,000 jobs worldwide by the end of 2022.

The company has 3,500 workers in Canada, accounting for about 4.2 per cent of its global workforce of about 83,000 employees, confirmed Shell Canada spokeswoman Tara Lemay.

If the cuts are made proportionately, they would result in between 294 and 378 fewer jobs in Canada.

“We do not have an exact figure because the details are still being worked out and we have never had a target to reduce a particular number of jobs,” Lemay said in an email.

Shell’s presence in Canada was reduced in 2017 when it sold most of its Alberta oilsands assets to Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

However, it heads up the consortium building the $40-billion LNG Canada export project on the West Coast, owns about 1,300 retail fuel stations and retains interests in conventional oil and gas production, refineries in Sarnia and near Edmonton, and petrochemical plants.

The cuts are being made following a global collapse in demand for oil and a subsequent slide in prices during the coronavirus pandemic.

The parent company said around 1,500 employees have already agreed to take voluntary buyouts this year and that it’s looking at a raft of other areas where it can cut costs, such as travel, its use of contractors and virtual working.

Overall, it said it expects the cost-cutting measures to secure annual cost savings of between US$2 billion and US$2.5 billion by 2022.

“We have to be a simpler, more streamlined, more competitive organization that is more nimble and able to respond to customers,” Ben van Beurden, the company’s chief executive, said. “To be more nimble, we have to remove a certain amount of organizational complexity.”

In June, rival BP said it was cutting around 10,000 jobs from its workforce to cope with the impact of the virus.

Shell also said that it expects third-quarter production to be between 2.15 million and 2.25 million barrels of oil equivalent a day, and that daily production levels have been impacted by between 60,000 and 70,000 barrels because of hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Canadian Press

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