Shell S’pore To Cut 500 Jobs By 2023 As They Move Towards Low-Carbon Fuels

Shell To Cut 500 Jobs Over Next 3 Years As Crude Oil Production Halves

Fuel and gas companies are increasingly seeing the importance of going green and finding more sustainable options.

Royal Dutch Shell, one of the world’s largest oil and gas company is now making a pivotal shift away from crude oil and towards low-carbon fuels.

Shell 500 JobsSource

However, this would mean the facility at Pulau Bukom – off mainland Singapore – would be cut to half its current processing capacity. Inevitably, 500 employes will be laid off as a result over the next few years.

Shell Singapore to cut 500 jobs at Pulau Bukom

Many businesses have been suffering as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and Shell is no different.

According to The Straits Times (ST), the company was heavily impacted by the pandemic-driven collapse in crude oil prices and demand.

Now, Shell is expediting its plans to move away from crude oil, towards more environmentally friendly low-carbon fuels.

This includes cutting crude refining capacity in half, from 500,000 barrels a day to 250,000.

The shift would mean that the workforce at Pulau Bukom, currently comprising 1,300 workers, would have to be downsized.


ST reports that by the end of 2021, 200 jobs will be cut. Over the next 2 years, another 300 more jobs will follow suit.

The Pulau Bukom restructuring is in line with the company’s earlier announcement to cut about 9,000 positions globally.

Other parts of Shell Singapore’s business like the Jurong chemical plant will not be affected.

Comprehensive severance package to be offered

The wage cuts from the downsizing will provide much-needed help in bolstering Shell’s finances.

This is especially in light of bleak forecasts for the crude oil industry that may reportedly never return to pre-pandemic levels.

With the upcoming job cuts, Shell’s management team has been working closely with Singapore Shell Employees’ Union to explore ways to help its members, reported ST.


Impacted employees will receive a comprehensive retrenchment package. This includes support initiatives, such as extended in-patient medical coverage up to a year after retrenchment.

They will also get professional outplacement services and a learning subsidy.

Shell is also looking into possible redeployments opportunities within the company. Besides that, Shell will work with partners like NTUC’s e2i Job Security Council to support employees in finding alternative jobs.

Difficult but necessary move to cleaner fuels

ST reports that Shell is the first major oil company that pledged to refocus its business towards cleaner fuels.

Shell Singapore recognises that these changes and decisions are difficult but necessary.

Shell 500 JobsSource

First announced in 2017 and updated recently, the restructuring plans will allow a smaller and smarter oil-refining footprint.

According to ST, the plan will also entail a switch to serving businesses and sectors with similar goals of achieving net-zero emissions.

By 2025, Shell aims to consolidate its crude oil refining to 6 locations globally, which incldues Pulau Bukom.

The plant at Pulau Bukom will also undergo digitalisation and automation of operations.

In time to come, the company expresses that new job opportunities might in fact emerge in the low-carbon sector as it picks up.

Hope affected employees will persevere find their way

Shell has become a leader in the industry as the crash in oil demand has pushed other major oil companies to move away from fossil fuels.

These changes are certainly difficult but ultimately, necessary ones.

The years ahead will likely be challenging for many of the affected employees.

Hopefully, with the help that our government and Shell is offering, they will persevere and find ways to capitalise on new opportunities that may emerge in time to come.

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Featured image adapted from Bloomberg and TODAY.

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