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Tuesday, December 15, 1998 Published at 19:19 GMT

Business: The Company File

Enterprise Oil job fears

The oil industry is suffering from a glut in supply

Enterprise Oil is transferring a major part of its London operations to Aberdeen early next year in a cost-cutting move that will result in job losses.

It is the latest setback for a troubled oil industry which has been hammered by a slump in prices.

Some 400 members of staff in London will be affected by the change but the number of redundancies is still being discussed.

[ image: The price of oil has plummeted in recent years]
The price of oil has plummeted in recent years
Enterprise Oil employs around 180 staff in Aberdeen and 800 worldwide.

The decision comes towards the end of a year-long review of the company's operations.

Transfers for staff who wish to move to Aberdeen are expected to take place within the next month or so.

The company has set up a consultative committee to talk to workers about the move.

Streamlining exercise

The review may also have implications for Enterprise Oil operations in the US, Italy and Norway.

A company spokesman said: "What we are doing is refocusing our operations.

"This is part of an ongoing process, which has seen Enterprise honing targets, lowering exploration spend and looking at costs as a response to the low oil price environment. The review is just another part of the process."

Oil price crisis

Enterprise operates two fields in the North Sea, Nelson and Pierce.

Pierce, which is currently in the development phase, will come on stream "soon" despite low oil prices.

Oil prices are currently hovering at around 12-year lows of $10 a barrel, which coupled with a falling off in demand from Asian economies, is causing a crisis in the oil industry.

Last month, rival Lasmo announced swingeing job cuts - including the loss of around 60% of its staff at its London headquarters - because of the continued low oil prices.

Beleaguered oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has also confirmed plans to scale back its operations in a move which could lead to thousands of job losses.

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