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[OSLO] Statoil could shed 2,400 jobs in May, or nearly 11 per cent of the total workforce, as the Norwegian oil giant cuts costs following the plunge in global oil prices, an Oslo business daily reported on Monday.
Dagens Naerinsliv, citing a labour representative, said the cuts would hit engineering staff, particularly those drilling and maintaining wells, as well as administrative staff.
"We are working on reinforcing the productivity within the company and that could have consequences in terms of jobs but it is too early to speculate on their number," Statoil spokesman Jannik Lindbaek told AFP.
The cuts are part of a programme to generate US$1.7 billion in annual savings from 2016 that Statoil announced last year when oil prices were still above US$100 per barrel.
Oil prices have since fallen to under US$50 per barrel, pushing energy companies to accelerate cost-cutting measures and suspend or scale back investment.
In February, when it announced annual profits had been slashed in half due to tumbling oil prices and heavy write-downs, Statoil also announced a 10 per cent cut in its US$20 billion-investment budget for this year.
Statoil, which went into the red in the second half of the year, also warned in February that an 8 per cent cut in staff levels last year to 22,500 could be followed by further staff reductions.