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Petronas looks into retrenching some of its 51,000 employees

Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) is considering retrenching some of its 51,000-strong staff as one of its options as the Malaysian state-owned oil company confronts the realities of low oil prices, the Malaysian Reserve reports.

A source with knowledge of the matter told the business daily that a voluntary separation scheme (VSS) for permanent staff is being considered by the Petronas management.

On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal ( WSJ ) reported that Petronas was planning to slash as much as RM50 billion (US$11.41 billion) in capital and operating expenses over the next four years.

Petronas, which brings in nearly half of Malaysia's oil revenue, will defer some of its projects, WSJ said, citing an internal memo by chief executive officer Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin.

The firm has been hit by a slump in oil prices, which fell to their lowest since 2003 on Monday. Prices have fallen by more than 70 percent in the past 18 months as exporters around the world pump out over a million barrels of crude every day in excess of demand.

In February last year, Petronas said it planned to cut capital expenditure by 10 percent and operating expenses by up to 30 percent in 2015.

It also said at the time that it would cut 2016 capital spending by 15 percent.

– Reuters

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