ExxonMobil to cut 300 jobs in Singapore this year

Layoffs are 7% of headcount here; union leader says affected staff are professionals, managers

Energy giant ExxonMobil's layoffs here come after it said last October that it would slash its global workforce by 15 per cent by end-2022. It said Singapore remains a strategic location, with a world-scale manufacturing complex and talented workforc
Energy giant ExxonMobil's layoffs here come after it said last October that it would slash its global workforce by 15 per cent by end-2022. It said Singapore remains a strategic location, with a world-scale manufacturing complex and talented workforce.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Energy giant ExxonMobil will cut about 300 positions from its workforce here by the end of the year.

It said the cuts - about 7 per cent of its local headcount - come amid unprecedented market conditions resulting from the pandemic.

Mr Chew Boon Jin, president of the ExxonMobil Singapore Employees Union, told The Straits Times yesterday that the affected staff, who are professionals and managers, will be notified between next Monday and March 12.

He also said that their last day on the payroll will be April 30.

The Singapore layoffs come after ExxonMobil announced last October it would slash its global workforce by 15 per cent by the end of next year. The company said then that the cuts would come through attrition, targeted redundancy programmes and scaled-back hiring.

The oil major has more than 4,000 employees in Singapore, where its largest refinery and integrated petrochemical complex are located. The refinery has a capacity of about 592,000 barrels a day.

ExxonMobil said in a statement on Tuesday that Singapore remains a strategic location, with a world-scale manufacturing complex and talented workforce.

"This is a difficult but necessary step to improve our company's competitiveness and strengthen the foundation of our business for future success," said Ms Geraldine Chin, who took over as chairman and managing director of ExxonMobil Asia-Pacific in January.

A spokesman for ExxonMobil said that the company will provide support, including counselling and outplacement services, to affected staff.

It had engaged with the Ministry of Manpower and union leaders ahead of the announcement, the spokesman added.

Mr Lim Wey-Len, senior vice-president and head of energy and resources at the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), told ST that ExxonMobil's staff cuts are to deal with near-term challenges and ensure long-term competitiveness. "ExxonMobil remains committed to its operations in Singapore," he noted.

The EDB is working with other government agencies and the company to provide assistance to affected employees by facilitating job placements, Mr Lim said.

ExxonMobil is one of Singapore's largest foreign investors, with more than $25 billion in fixed-asset investments.

It is in the process of a multibillion-dollar expansion of its Jurong Island refining and petrochemical complex. That investment is expected to create 135 new jobs.

Other energy industry majors have announced job cuts in recent months amid predictions that oil consumption may never rebound to pre-pandemic levels.

Last November, Shell Singapore said it will cut 500 employees from its headcount of 1,300 at its Pulau Bukom site by the end of 2023 as it downsizes operations and pivots away from crude oil towards a low-carbon slate of fuels.

Parent company Royal Dutch Shell said it would be letting as many as 9,000 people go worldwide by the end of next year.

Last November, Chevron said it could slash at least 10 per cent of jobs in its Singapore operations. The American oil giant had earlier announced it would cut about 6,000 out of nearly 45,000 jobs.

London-headquartered BP also announced that 10,000 employees globally would be made redundant, with only a quarter of these being voluntary redundancies.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2021, with the headline 'ExxonMobil to cut 300 jobs in Singapore this year'. Subscribe