Abu Dhabi lays off staff amid low oil prices

Abu Dhabi—Thousands of layoffs at state-linked companies in Abu Dhabi are a fresh sign the Gulf’s wealthy oil states are hunkering down for a long period of austerity as low crude prices pressure their economies.
Since mid-2015, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other countries in the region have curbed spending on some construction projects and reduced energy subsidies to limit budget deficits caused by cheap oil.
Now some governments are also starting to reduce staff at the companies they control, many of them in the energy industry, in order to ensure the firms are not a drain on state finances if oil prices stay low for several years.
Abu Dhabi’s National Oil Co (ADNOC), with around 55,000 staff, has cut hundreds of jobs in the last few months and will have reduced its workforce by at least 5,000 by the end of 2016, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The reduction will occur across most of its 17 subsidiaries as part of a restructuring following a reshuffle of the firm’s leadership this month, they said.
An ADNOC spokesman did not confirm or deny the cuts but said: “In keeping with the entire oil and gas industry, ADNOC is constantly looking at ways to be more efficient and more profitable, particularly in the current market environment.”
Most layoffs at Abu Dhabi state firms are not in response to production cut-backs; the UAE has not reduced its oil output, and says it is proceeding with long-planned oil and gas development projects.—Agencies

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