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Royal Dutch Shell has announced plans to reduce its workforce of 3,000 by between 5% and 10% at its Albian Sands mining project near Fort McMurray in Alta, Canada.

The latest decision is part of Shell’s strategy to improve efficiency by adjusting the organisational structure of its oilsands operations, to ensure the company retains the right number of people in appropriate positions.

Shell Albian Sands is the mining operation portion of the Athabasca Oil Sands project, consisting of the Muskeg River and Jackpine mines.

Production from the two mining and extraction operations accounts for 17% of Canada’s total oil production.

Shell spokesman Cameron Yost told Reuters that the company has not yet finalised the number of job losses at the mine but confirmed that it would be ‘well below’ 10%.

“It’s not layoffs in the traditional sense of the word…it’s adjustments to the organisational structure.”

Yost added that the affected miners will be placed elsewhere within the company’s operations.

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Yost said: “It’s not layoffs in the traditional sense of the word…it’s adjustments to the organisational structure.”

In February 2014, Shell ceased work on its proposed 200,000bpd Pierre River oilsands mine in Alberta, as it was re-assessing various asset developments timing, the agency reported.

Shell is the operator and majority shareholder of the Athabasca Oil Sands project, a joint venture between Shell Canada (60%), Chevron Canada (20%) and Marathon Oil Canada (20%). It consists of Shell Albian Sands mining and extraction operations north of Fort McMurray, the Scotford Upgrader and the proposed Quest carbon capture and storage (CCS) project north of Edmonton.

Image: Shell headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands. Photo: courtesy of P.L. van Till.