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State-owned petroleum and natural gas firm Saudi Aramco has started cutting hundreds of jobs as it seeks to reduce costs in response to the oil price crash.

With almost 80,000 employees, the company has started laying off foreign staff across several divisions.

Every year, the state-owned firm goes through a round of job cuts. According to several people, it is bigger than normal this year.

Bloomberg cited Saudi Aramco as saying in a statement: “Aramco is adapting to the highly complex and rapidly changing business environment caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. We constantly review and revisit our operating expenditures where necessary to continue driving operational excellence and profitability.

“We are not providing information regarding the details of any action at this time, but all our actions are designed to provide us more agility, resilience and competitiveness, with a focus on long-term growth.”

Saudi Aramco recently purchased a 70% stake in Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) from the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia.

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By GlobalData

Last month, Saudi Arabian Ministry of Energy instructed Saudi Aramco to decrease its production this month by another million barrels, on top of previously agreed production cuts.

The company was also reportedly close to finalising a $10bn loan from a group of banks.

In March, Saudi Aramco announced plans to cut between $25bn and $30bn from its capital expenditure in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This was down from an initial target of $40bn. The company has put next year’s spending under review.