Elf's 'painless' U.K. restructuring

David Knott London davidk@ogjonline.com With job losses accompanying every merger or takeover at the moment, it feels like the petroleum industry's boom/bust cycle is inescapable. Elf Exploration U.K. plc is as lean and mean as any North Sea operator, but through good timing managed to restructure without much pain to the employees it laid off. Pierre Godec, managing director of Elf Exploration U.K., said the unit had 1,200 staff 3 years ago but now employs 566. Of these, only 68 are offshore, because Elf hired Kvaerner Oil & Gas Ltd. to handle day-to-day operations. "There has been a revolution inside the discipline," said Godec. "We decided in 1997 that...

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