SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp plans to cut its workforce in Singapore, home to its largest oil refining and petrochemical complex, by about 7% amid the “unprecedented market conditions” resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, it said on Wednesday.
About 300 positions out of 4,000 current jobs will be impacted by the end of 2021, the company said in a statement.
The Singapore layoffs come weeks after Exxon announced its plan to close its 72-year-old Altona refinery in Australia and convert it to an import terminal. The top U.S. oil producer, once America’s most valuable company, posted a historic annual loss for 2020 after the coronavirus pandemic slashed energy demand.
Exxon’s announcement also follows European major Royal Dutch Shell’s decision in November to cut 500 staff and halve its crude processing capacity in Singapore as part of a global strategy to reduce carbon emissions.
Exxon Mobil’s Singapore complex has the capacity to refine about 592,000 barrels per day of oil and includes its biggest integrated petrochemical production site.
The city-state will remain a strategic location for the company, it said.
“This is a difficult but necessary step to improve our company’s competitiveness and strengthen the foundation of our business for future success,” said Geraldine Chin, chairman and managing director, ExxonMobil Asia Pacific Pte Ltd.
Last year, Exxon said it remained committed to a multi-billion dollar expansion at the Singapore complex amid an ongoing review of its projects globally.
(Reporting by Shruti Sonal in Bengaluru and Florence Tan in Singapore; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Christian Schmollinger)