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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 April, 2004, 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK
Shell cuts 2,800 technology jobs
Shell garage UK
Shell's image has suffered with investors in recent months
Royal Dutch Shell has said it will cut up to 2,800 jobs in its technology division over the next three years.

The world's third-largest oil firm said the cutbacks were unrelated to recent problems over how it accounted for its proven oil reserves.

The division affected has sites in Britain, the Netherlands and the US. Some jobs will be outsourced to India and Malaysia, Shell said.

A spokeswoman said the move was "about developing Shell's IT efficiency".

High-profile resignations

Shell has been under huge pressure after cutting its proved reserve estimates by 20%.

In recent weeks Shell's chairman, its head of exploration, and its finance chief resigned after the company admitted that proven reserves of crude oil had been massively overstated.

Infosys Technologies Ltd, Bangalore, India
India boasts computer expertise
According to an internal but independent report, Shell executives knowingly hid the company's oil and gas shortfalls as far back as 2001.

The report firmly placed the blame on the shoulders of former chairman Sir Philip Watts and oil and gas chief Walter van de Vijver.

Earlier this month, Shell's finance chief Judy Boynton became the third casualty of the company's reserves crisis.

Shell is now under investigation by the UK's financial watchdog, the FSA, and in the US by both the Securities & Exchange Commission and the Justice Department.

Saving money

The firm already has operations in Malaysia and has reportedly signed agreements with two vendors in India, IBM and Wipro.

Malaysia, where Shell already has about 1,000 people in a technology support centre, has been marketing itself as a location for cheaper IT expertise.

India already has a reputation as an outsourcing centre, particularly for software.

Moving jobs overseas will be cheaper for Shell, as technology workers in India and Malaysia earn less than their Western counterparts.

The reorganisation will reportedly also include developing a standardised global IT system for all Shell companies.

The BBC's Shola Olowu
"Oil giant Shell has had a dramatic start to 2004"

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