Maersk Oil downsizes workforce in US and Angola

Danish oil company Maersk Oil will let go around a 100 workers as it has announced plans to reduce its organisations in Angola and the US, citing continued challenging market conditions for deepwater developments.

The move will result in the closure of the company’s Houston office and a reduction of the Luanda team, impacting approximately 100 staff positions in total across the two sites, the company said

Maersk Oil explained that the decision follows extensive and ongoing work to reduce capex and improve returns of the un-sanctioned Chissonga offshore project in Angola. Options include a future project developed jointly with other hydrocarbon discoveries in the same region, the company said.

“Chissonga, like many deepwater projects in our industry, remains economically challenged in the current market environment. Maersk Oil remains committed to the Chissonga project and we have evaluated multiple options to commercialise these resources in the best interests of our partners and the Angolan authorities. In addition to work to reduce overall project costs we are also looking at options for a possible joint development,” says Maersk Oil’s Chief Operating Officer Gretchen Watkins.

“A further restructuring of the Chissonga project team is a necessary step on the path to securing a future development project for Maersk Oil in Angola. This difficult decision does not diminish our keenness to pursue the Chissonga project sanction in due course, provided we can achieve an attractive return on our investment,” she continued.

60/40

Of the approx. 100 employees and contractors impacted by the changes, 60 currently sit in Houston and a further 40 in Luanda. The changes will transfer some responsibilities for the project to Maersk Oil’s Copenhagen headquarters and leave an office of 18 people in Luanda continuing the Chissonga project maturation.

“We recognise that this is an unsettling time for our people, to whom we offer full support throughout this process. During this difficult time, the safety and welfare of our teams and our focus on safe and incident-free operations remain our top priority,” Watkins says.

Maersk Oil’s non-operated activities in the Gulf of Mexico, currently also run from Houston, will be transferred to its Copenhagen headquarters in the coming months, the company said.

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