300 jobs axed at Woodside

Ben Harvey and Courtney Fowler
Job cuts: Woodside will cut 300 jobs. Picture: Supplied

Hundreds of positions at Woodside Petroleum will be made redundant and pay levels frozen across the company as the local oil and gas champion comes to grips with the savage fall in energy prices.

In an email to staff yesterday, Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman said a business review launched in the wake of the global commodities rout had been completed.

"Given the price of oil has effectively halved over the past year, putting pressure on our bottom line, it is clear that we must accelerate existing plans to improve efficiency and effectiveness throughout the business," he said. "This includes bringing forward delivery of a more streamlined organisational structure in which we have the right number of people in the right places doing the right work to deliver on our aspirations.

"It means about 300 roles will be made redundant. Others may experience a shift in responsibilities. All positions have been considered in line with our long-term strategic imperatives.

"Over the coming week, your functional leader will provide more detail on what this means for you and your part of the business. If your position is directly affected, you will be personally consulted. Support and guidance will be available as we make this transition."

In a statement which will come as a shock to the many people who enjoyed fat pay packets during the oil and gas boom years, Mr Coleman told staff their pay would be frozen.

"We have also decided that there will be no immediate remuneration increases," he said.

"This applies to all employees. The situation will be reviewed in Q3."

It is not known whether the positions being made redundant will be on operational sites or at the company's headquarters on St Georges Terrace.

A Woodside spokesperson would not comment other than to confirm the business review had been undertaken and that 300 redundancies were projected.

Trade unions appeared to be unaware of the announcement to staff.

The job losses at Woodside have been expected.

Mr Coleman last month softened up the public for more cuts when he pointed to the US energy sector, where "up to 500,000 jobs will go out of the industry".

Those comments came a week after Woodside demanded some contract staff cop a 45 per cent pay cut, or lose their job.