6,500 jobs cut at Royal Dutch Shell

<p>The firm is working to reduce operating costs on the back of falling oil prices.</p>

Royal Dutch Shell has announced plans to cut 6,500 jobs.

The move is an attempt to cut costs by $4 billion (£2.57) following a drop in oil prices, and the firm says it is planning for a "prolonged downturn" in oil prices.

Currently, the price of oil stands at $53 a barrel. Last year, the price was more than double at $110.

An Anglo-Dutch multinational company, Shell currently employs around 94,000 people and has also announced it will be scaling back oil exploration operations.

In the three months to June 30th, the oil giant reported profits of $3.4 billion – that's a 35 per cent decrease compared to the same period a year ago.

The company said that job cuts would affect contractors, as well as employees and also included job losses in the North Sea and cuts following divestments in Nigeria.

Must be "resilient"

Commenting on the job cuts, chief executive Ben van Beurden said the company needed to take steps to protect itself in case oil prices stay down.

"We have to be resilient in a world where oil prices remain low for some time, whilst keeping an eye on recovery," he explained.

He added: "We're taking a prudent approach, pulling on powerful financial levers to manage through this downturn, always making sure we have the capacity to pay attractive dividends for shareholders."

Other cuts that the company will be making include selling a 33 per cent stake in its Japanese business Showa. Petrochemical group Idemitsu is buying it for around £1.4 billion. 

In 2014 and 2015, Shell saw $20 billion of asset sales. Between 2016 and 2018, it plans another $30 billion in sales.

The company is also making investments. In April, the firm announced that it was buying BG for £47 billion. According to Shell, the purchase of the UK's third-largest energy company would enhance free cash flow and be "a springboard to change Shell into a simpler and more profitable company".

At closing on Thursday (July 30th), shares in Royal Dutch Shell were up 4.45 per cent to 79.13.

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