The job cuts announced by Shell Oil should not have too much of an adverse impact in the Middle East, says a company official. As of now, the major percentage of lay-offs will be focused on operations and bases in the North Sea and also North America, he clarified. Further clarity has been given about the situation, underlining the fact that the number of people laid-off in the Middle East operations of Shell may only be in the tens. Given this, there is no need to fear a huge backlash in the Middle East from the lay-offs that Shell has been carrying out to protect its profit margins from erosion. Shell is not the only major oil company to resort to job cuts to keep its books out of the red; a number of others have adopted the same strategy.

The main reason behind all of these activities is the slump in oil prices that has been extending for a while now. In fact, many oil majors including Shell have cut back significantly on oil exploration projects as well to maintain a semblance of control over costs. However, in startling contrast to this approach, the Middle East governments seem to have plans to keep their project spending in the industry as high as ever. Disregarding the oil slump, these governments appear to be all set to face-off against the price crises.

UAE deserves special mention in this respect, since its government is one of the most active in terms of project spending for oil based activities. The employment scenario in the oil and gas industry also paints a very different picture in the UAE. A recent study by UK based Procorre, an employment consultant, showed that more than half of the total job opportunities that are open in the Middle East in this industry are in the UAE. This statistic needs to be seen in view of the fact that UAE accounts for a mere 9% of the oil and gas output that comes from this region.