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Shell’s blockbuster BG bid backfires as gas prices deflate

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Danny Fortson:    Published 1 May 2016

Nearly 300 staff gathered in the canteen of BG Group’s sprawling headquarters in Reading on Monday morning to hear what they had long been expecting: nearly all of them were being laid off or being forced to apply for new jobs.

Shell closed its blockbuster takeover of the gas giant in February. Huibert Vigeveno, a rising star within Shell charged with integrating the companies, announced that after an “office footprint review”, BG’s headquarters would shut.

Its operations in Aberdeen and Manchester would also be closed. More than 1,600 former BG employees would either be invited to apply for new positions, take voluntary redundancy, or be swept away after a round of layoffs. In total, Shell is slashing 10,000 positions. Cuts will get Shell only so far.

Chief executive Ben van Beurden is under increasing pressure to justify his $35bn gamble in the face of a stubbornly low oil price. 

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