Shell to cut 5 to 10 percent of 3,000 oil sands jobs

HOUSTON — Royal Dutch Shell will cut 5 to 10 percent of the 3,000 jobs at its Albian Oil Sands Project in Alberta but will work to find roles for affected personnel in other parts of the company, a Shell official said.

The company hasn’t announced a timeline for the jobs cuts or provided an exact number of positions that will be eliminated.

The move comes at a time when oil prices continue to plummet. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark oil price, fell 43 cents Friday to $48.36 barrel, less than half its June peak. Brent, the international standard, was down 85 cents to $50.11 per barrel —  its lowest close since April 2009.

Meanwhile, production from the oil sands is seen as having some of the highest break even price points in North America.

But a Shell official characterized the move as unrelated to the drop in commodity prices and intended to keep the company efficient and competitive.

Shell produces about 255,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from the two mines that are included in the project.

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