Home » ‘Surplus to our business activity’: Gas giant Santos lays off about 200 Perth workers

‘Surplus to our business activity’: Gas giant Santos lays off about 200 Perth workers

Gas giant Santos has laid off about 200 staff members, most of them based in Perth, citing slower project approval times.

In a statement, Santos said a detailed review of its Western Australia, Northern Territory and Timor Leste business unit had recently been conducted to ensure its workforce was aligned to the company’s strategy and low-cost operating model.

“With some late-life assets nearing closure, there is an increasing near-term focus on capital-intensive decommissioning activities,” the statement said.

“New project approvals are taking longer meaning work programs are more sequenced than in the past and some growth activities have been delayed.

Santos is an Australian oil and gas company with its headquarters in Adelaide. (ABC News: Che Chorley)

“As a result, approximately 200 roles in the business unit are surplus to our business activity plans including contractors.

“The surplus roles are mainly Perth-based with a small number based in other locations.”

The company’s statement said it had not made the decision lightly, and support would be provided to impacted employees.

State not to blame, says premier

WA Premier Roger Cook said the lay-offs were not a reflection of the state’s environmental approvals process, with the slow approvals Santos had mentioned referring only to federal projects.

“There’s no Santos project that is in the … stream of environmental approvals at the moment,” he told parliament, responding to a question on the issue from leader of the Opposition Shane Love.

“In fact we have already announced we will be moving forward with green and red-tape reform to make sure we do get these sorts of projects coming into Western Australia.

Roger Cook in a black jacket and blue tie, pressing his lips together.

Roger Cook believes the sacked workers will find plenty of other opportunities in the state’s resources sector.(ABC News: Cason Ho)

“The job cuts are part of their decommissioning cycle of older assets, and even though they may want to make some sort of statement about the general disagreement they have, particularly with their Barossa Project, well then so be it.

“But they are not reflecting on the Western Australian Government’s program and they are not reflecting on any Western Australian projects.”

Mr Cook said he believed the impacted employees would quickly be picked up by other companies in WA’s worker-hungry resource sector.

“I suspect that there are oil and gas companies right across Western Australia at the moment which are rubbing their hands with glee to get hold of these workers,” he said.

Santos, which has its headquarters in Adelaide, had been in merger talks with Perth-based global energy giant Woodside that could have seen the creation of an $80 billion dollar company.

In February this year, Woodside announced those merger talks had ended without a deal.

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