Energy giant Shell has announced it is moving out of its current North Sea base in Tullos, Aberdeen, and into the Silver Fin building in the city centre.
The company has not yet set a firm date for the relocation to Union Street, but the lease for its new premises in the heart of the Granite City starts next year.
It is understood the firm will occupy six floors at Silver Fin, the building next door to The Capitol – which hosts North Sea oil and gas rival Harbour Energy.
The building will be used by more than 1,000 staff, but because of flexible working they will not be all there at the same time.
Shell confirmed earlier this year it was on the hunt for a new home for its Aberdeen workforce, saying its team at Tullos was working in a complex “from the 70s”.
Confirming its move and revealing details of the new location for the first time today (September 2), Shell UK said: “The premises will provide our staff with a modern workplace, fit for the future, as we reinvigorate the business for the energy transition.”
‘This new office move demonstrates our continued partnership with the city and the region’
A spokesman for the Anglo-Dutch company added: “Shell is eager to play its part in the regeneration of Aberdeen city centre as it builds back from the coronavirus pandemic.”
Hailing the move as “the next chapter in Shell’s long and successful history in the city”, he added: “Our first office opened on Union Street in 1965 and in 2018 we marked 50 years of production in the North Sea.
“This new office move demonstrates our continued partnership with the city and the region, as well as our commitment to the communities and businesses there.”
Simon Roddy, senior vice-president, upstream, Shell UK, said, “This is great news for our staff and for our future as a key player in the North Sea’s energy transition.
“We are working on exciting projects and technologies, like carbon capture and storage and hydrogen production.
“This is the right move for our teams as we help shape that lower-carbon future, supporting the UK’s journey to net-zero, while continuing to provide the energy the country relies on through the transition.”
City centre boost
The move is widely seen as a major boost for a city centre that has been bereft of workers during the coronavirus outbreak.
It also reflects a trend among companies wishing to shrink their footprints and take advantage of remote working.
Aberdeen City Council leader Jenny Laing said: “As the city emerges from the unprecedented effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the council has been accelerating work on the City Centre Masterplan and providing the necessary assurance and confidence to business and investors that Aberdeen is building back better.”
Ms Laing added: “Grade A office accommodation will help both retain existing and attract new businesses – we need the people who work here to also spend time in our shops, bars, restaurants and public spaces.
“Shell’s announcement of its relocation to Silver Fin is a positive for the city, and signals their confidence in Aberdeen and the city centre to other businesses and investors.”
Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce chief executive Russell Borthwick said: “Shell has been part of the fabric of the Aberdeen city region for decades, both as a major employer and a cornerstone of our status as a global energy leader.
‘Clear signal’ of commitment
“Relocating its operations to the heart of the city centre, where it all began in 1965, is a clear signal of its continuing commitment to being a significant contributor to the economy and reputation of the north-east in the long term.
“The move will also bring increased footfall to the many retailers, cafes, restaurants and businesses in the area, and act as a catalyst for further generation of the west end of Union Street as we look to a positive post-Covid future.”
The original Shell office in Aberdeen was above the Church of Scotland bookshop on Union Street and established in 1965.
Since 1973 Shell’s base in Aberdeen has been at the industrial estate in Tullos, off Wellington Road.
The future of the Tullos site is “subject to a future decision”, the company’s spokesman said.
Fellow energy giant BP said last December it would up sticks from its North Sea base in Dyce.
BP is moving into a smaller facility at Aberdeen International Business Park, while it has also told thousands of staff globally they will not return to their offices full-time when the pandemic lifts.
It sold its London HQ last November but leased it back for two years to give it time to firm up alternative plans for staff.