Jobs to go at oil exploration firm

Oil and gas exploration firm BG Group is reportedly preparing to cut almost 300 jobs in Britain, weeks after it slashed production targets on the back of continued problems in Egypt.

Up to 300 jobs could go at the BG Group in company "streamlining".
Up to 300 jobs could go at the BG Group in company "streamlining".

The group confirmed that it had invited employees at its Reading headquarters to apply for voluntary redundancy though it said there was no target for the number.

But according to The Times, about a quarter of the 1,100-strong workforce at the site are facing the axe. The company employs 1,500 people in the UK.

A spokesman said: "We have invited UK contracted employees based at our head office in Reading, to express their interest in a voluntary redundancy package.

"To be clear, it is an entirely voluntary process, no decisions have been made and there is no target for the number of applications.

"The programme reflects steps we are taking to simplify our business, particularly at Reading head office, and a focus on streamlining and managing costs across the company."

BG, which employs 5,200 people worldwide, is lining up the redundancies following the arrival of new finance director Simon Lowth at the end of last year.

In January, its shares tumbled after it warned of problems in Egypt, one of the company's biggest production areas - complaining that too much of its gas was being diverted into domestic markets instead of being made available for exports.

It said these would result in output this year being in the region of between 590,000 and 630,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, compared with the 650,000 that had been expected in the City.

BG was created in 1997 when British Gas demerged into two separately listed companies, with Centrica having responsibility for the retail side of the business.