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Shell to cut 250 North Sea jobs

Energy giant Shell is to shed 250 posts from its North Sea operation over the next year.

Employees and contractors will be affected by the cuts, which target onshore positions.

A Shell spokeswoman said: "Shell UK Ltd is reorganising its upstream onshore operations to better serve the needs of its offshore facilities and to build a stronger long-term business in the North Sea.

"Following staff consultation, Shell expects to reduce employee and contractor headcount by a total of around 250 positions over the next year.

"Revisions to the onshore organisation will be implemented by the end of 2014.

"Shell is determined to ensure that it continues to deliver safe, competitive operations in its North Sea portfolio and maximises value from its operated assets."

Shell produces around 12% of UK oil and gas and has interests in more than 50 North Sea fields.

The company operates some 60 offshore and sub-sea installations and three onshore gas plants at St Fergus, Mossmorran and Bacton.

It is understood the jobs will go at Shell's office in oil and gas hub Aberdeen.

Parent company Royal Dutch Shell last week pledged to return more than 30 billion US dollars (£18 billion) to investors over two years as quarterly profits rose by a third.

Earnings for the second quarter of 2014 excluding one-off items increased 33% to 6.13 billion US dollars (£3.63 billion) but chief executive Ben van Beurden said he was determined to get a "tighter grip" on business performance and management.

Last month fellow oil giant Chevron announced it was to cut 225 jobs in Aberdeen as it reorganises its North Sea operations.

The US firm said employees, contractors and expatriate workers will be affected.

The Scottish Government said it recognised that it was a difficult time for workers affected by the announcement and it hoped the redundancy figure could be reduced through restructuring and relocation.

A spokesman said: "The Scottish Government will work closely with Shell and with those who face redundancy to help them into alternative employment through our Pace initiative."

He added: "We welcome Shell's continuing commitment to the North Sea, particularly their ongoing investment over the next few years of two billion dollars a year in Clair and Schiehallion, and there is no indication that this will impact directly on North Sea production or field development.

"As Oil and Gas UK has said, overall there was £14.4 billion investment in 2013 and the industry intends to invest a further £13 billion this year. This provides a clear signal that attractive opportunities still remain in the North Sea.

"However, as the report from Scotland's Independent Expert Commission on Oil and Gas made clear, a fundamental shift in the way oil and gas policy is formulated is long overdue. Only with the full powers of independence can we bring stability, predictability and a long term positive future to the North Sea."

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