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October 2, 2020

Equinor to cut exploration staff by 30%

Norwegian oil and gas operator Equinor has announced it will cut its exploration staff by approximately 30% globally by 2023, aiming to reduce costs after the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on the oil market.

By Yoana Cholteeva

The exploration unit is expected to be reduced by 60% in the UK, 30% in Norway, and 50% in the US.

The company has said that it will offer staff in some locations severance packages, while tackling cuts in Norway differently. Since the state owns a major stake in the company, local staff will be given other jobs, leaving the rest of reductions to natural attrition.

The firm, which had 21,000 employees at the end of 2019, has told news agency Reuters that around 20% of roles in each country were being cut.

It has also said that it plans to focus on selected areas when searching for new gas and oil resources, amongst which are the US, Brazil, and Norway.

Equinor’s exploration spending has declined by about a third over the past six to seven years. Earlier, the company said that it was planning to spend $1.1bn on exploration over 2020, which grew to $1.4bn in February this year.

In August, Equinor undertook some job cuts in the UK, Canada, and the US in response to decreased oil demand.

While oil prices mostly recovered after the unprecedented lows in April, offshore operators are still uncertain of their prospects, especially as recent spikes of Covid-19 cases could bring a second wave of losses to the industry.

Equinor said on Wednesday that it will keep production going after some of its staff went on a strike at the company’s Johan Sverdrup oilfield, situated in the North Sea.

Following this announcement, Norway’s Lederne labour union is planning to escalate its offshore industrial action to four other Equinor fields next week.

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