At least 30 staff workers at Total E&P (Uganda) are the latest causality of cost cutting by the three oil companies licenced to operate in Uganda.

In a rather drastic move, Eagleonline, has learnt the French oil has decided to shrink its overall workforce of about 166 staff. The laid-off employees, majority Ugandans have been promised a severance package and advance salary depending on the number of years they worked.

Total’s corporate affairs director Ahlem Friga-Noy said in a statement that the company is through with the rigorous phase of exploration/appraisal campaign, which requires of minimising on activities. The company currently awaits for a production licence.

“The completion of the exploration/appraisal phase means that all drilling operations and related activities have been completed and all necessary data for the development phase have been gathered,” Ms Friga said. “While moving forward with the government on finalizing key required steps towards development, there is substantial reduction of operations and related activities.”

She added that therefore, Total has to adapt to the pace of the project, while also taking into account recent trends in the international crude oil price and their impact on our capital intensive industry.

“To adapt to the current level of activity and the need to reduce costs, synergies with Partners in terms of infrastructure and equipment have been promoted.  To manage the manpower redundancy borne out of the decreased activity, Total E&P has made efforts in the interim to assign some local personnel to either other Total affiliates abroad or on pertinent international training. Notwithstanding, Total E&P has been obliged to also demobilize staff, both in the field and in Kampala”

The statement indicates that the retrenchment process started last year in December, starting with demobilization of expatriates and now with locally recruited staff.  The company’s general manager Mr Francois Rafin, recalled in January this year after only being in the job for a short while.

But meanwhile, Total’s partners have also been retrenching workers owing to the need to cut back on costs. UK’s Tullow Oil PLC last month laid off about 120 workers.

Meanwhile, the government and oil companies are in intensive engagements over the status of production licences that will lead to the next phase of oil production.

editorial@eagle.co.ug