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Shell has put more than 2,000 jobs in the UK at risk after launching a “strategic review” of its domestic energy and telecoms supply division.
The oil and gas supermajor said on Thursday that it had told staff in Shell Energy, which has operations in the UK, the Netherlands and Germany, that it has begun analysis of future options for the business, which could include exiting the sectors.
The UK business, which is headquartered just outside Coventry, has 1.4 million energy customers and about 500,000 broadband users.
The company said it had made the decision against the backdrop of a strategy which includes “continually exploring options to maximise the value of our portfolio and address performance in tough market conditions”.
Shell launched into the home energy supply market in 2018 after acquiring First Utility and rebranding the business to Shell Energy Retail the following year. It took over the Post Office’s broadband customers in 2021 and now offers broadband at varying speeds across three tariffs.
The energy company and its rivals reported booming profits from their oil and gas operations in 2022 as the price of commodities spiked, in part as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
However, retail energy suppliers have struggled in recent years with nearly 30 UK operators going bust, including Bulb which collapsed into a government-handled administration before its acquisition by Octopus Energy.
Shell said that “no decisions” had been take on the future of its home retail businesses and the review process would take “a number of months”.
The company said: “Our priority remains to ensure our customers in those countries continue to receive a reliable and affordable energy supply, and to provide support for customers who are struggling with the cost of energy and wider cost of living pressures.”
Shell said its wholesale and business-to-business energy supply divisions were unaffected, along with its businesses supplying homes in the US and Australia.
The group will next week post its first results since new chief executive, Wael Sawan, took over from longstanding head Ben van Beurden earlier this month.
The firm is expected to post adjusted annual profits of around $83bn (£67bn) against $55bn (£44bn) the previous year, including around $19bn (£15bn) in the final quarter of the year, against $16.3bn (£13.2bn) a year ago.