Shell Canada to cut Alberta Albian oilsands workforce

Shell Canada Ltd. says it is reducing its workforce at its Albian Sands oilsands operations near Fort McMurray, Alta. A company spokesman says the cuts will affect less than 10 per cent of its 3,000-plus workforce at the Muskeg River and Jackpine oilsands mines.

More than 3,000 Canadians employed at Muskeg River, Jackpine oilsands operations

A haul truck carrying a full load drives away from a mining shovel at the Shell Albian Sands oilsands mine near Fort McMurray, Alta., in 2008. Shell Canada says it will cut its workforce at the Muskeg River and Jackpine oilsands mines by less than 10 per cent. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Shell Canada Ltd. says it is reducing its workforce at its Albian Sands oilsands operations near Fort McMurray, Alta.

A company spokesman says the cuts will affect less than 10 per cent of its 3,000-plus workforce at the Muskeg River and Jackpine oilsands mines.

Cameron Yost says the actual number of reductions hasn't been determined and most of the people who will be affected will be salaried employees.

He says the cuts are to ensure that Shell's oilsands business remains competitive and continues to thrive.

Yost says in some cases people will be considered for jobs elsewhere in Shell's global operations.

Shell says its Albian Sands mining operations account for 17 per cent of Canada's total oil production.

"We have taken a decision to adjust our Albian Sands organization to ensure that we have got the right number of people in the right positions," Yost said in an interview Friday.

He said while job cuts may be coming, there will be no cut in production. Yost also said the price of oil was not a factor in the decision.

"Oilsands operations are long-term projects and we take into account the fact that crude prices will fluctuate over that time," he said. "Even if the oil price had remained stable, we would still be looking at all aspects of our business to ensure we remain competitive." 

The federal government approved an expansion of the Jackpine project on Dec. 6, 2013.

Shell's oilsands crude is upgraded into a more easily refined product at its Scotford upgrader near Edmonton.

Shell Canada's European parent company is Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

With files from CBC News

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