Aker and Transocean Announce New Layoffs

File image courtesy Aker

By The Maritime Executive 03-15-2016 09:02:30

Offshore services firm Aker and rig operator Transocean announced new rounds of layoffs on Monday and Tuesday, adding to an extensive list of job losses in offshore oil.

On March 15, Switzerland-based Transocean said that it intends to cut 80 positions from the drillship Discoverer Americas, idled due to market conditions. The losses are in addition to another 190 offshore positions lost from two other off-contract Transocean rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. In a regulatory filing Transocean said that the workers could be recalled in the event that the rigs get new contracts, but for now it is treating the dismissals as permanent.

Separately, Aker has notified employees of its Norwegian subsea division that it will be cutting 600 permanent positions at facilities in Fornebu, Moss, Tranby and Ågotnes, with reductions made through both normal attrition and through redundancies. The reduction amounts to 20 percent of the division.

The cuts will affect management and other staff, and are in addition to 1,000 layoffs announced in its global subsea business last year. Aker has 15,000 permanent employees in 20 countries; about 7,000 are in the subsea division, with a subset of 2,500 in Norway. The company says it is restructuring its global subsea business as it expands into new markets; a third of Aker's order backlog was for subsea work in West Africa at the end of 2015.

"These are tough but necessary measures to strengthen the subsea business’ competitiveness during a challenging time for our industry," said Per Harald Kongelf, head of Aker Solutions’ Norwegian operations.

The number of layoffs continues to rise, but for experienced offshore specialists in need of a new place to weather the downturn, there may be a new source of work for their deep skillset. Quartz reports that a growing number of engineers, technicians and executives with decades of offshore oil experience are migrating to commercial wind and tidal projects.

Tim Cornelius, CEO of U.K. tidal energy firm Atlantis and an oil and gas veteran, told Quartz's Cassie Werber that an upswing in offshore renewables is “coming at exactly the right time, it’s retaining a knowledge base in the UK, driving jobs… It’s making use of [an] existing supply chain . . . All the vessels we use are vessels we used to work on [in the oil industry], that three years ago we couldn’t afford, and now are desperately chasing our work,” he said.