ROYAL Dutch Shell has announced plans to close the BG North Sea head office in Aberdeen where around 300 people work in a move which is expected to lead to further job cuts in the city.

The Anglo Dutch oil giant will run the enlarged North Sea Business formed by the recent £35bn takeover of BG from its office in the Tullos area of Aberdeen.

Led by chief executive Ben van Beurden, Shell said all 300 BG staff will relocate to Tullos initially. They will be able to apply for redundancy under a voluntary severance programme which is expected to result in some jobs being cut.

Shell said it could not predict the outcome of the severance programme but had no plans to make any posts in Aberdeen redundant on a compulsory basis.

The company said previously that it expected to shed 2,800 jobs globally following the takeover of BG, with a focus on areas of duplication. It said yesterday that this target has not changed.

Shell has cut 500 jobs in the North Sea since the crude price started tumbling in June 2014, out of 7,500 globally.

The downturn has taken a heavy toll on the North Sea. Oil and gas firms shed around 5,500 jobs in the area in the year after the crude price started falling. They have continued to cut jobs in recent months.

Shell may update on its plans for the enlarged North Sea operation in its first quarter results next week.

Directors have said Shell will focus investment on the big new fields it is developing off Shetland. They want to cuts its exposure to mature North Sea fields.

Shell employs 2,000 people at Tullos.

It will close BG’s head office in Berkshire, where 800 people work, this year.

BG’s Manchester office, where 500 people work, will be closed by the end of next year.