The irony is that six years after the collapse of the investment bank Lehman Brothers, Aberdeen is finally about to experience its own form of slump at a time when the rest of the UK economy is poised to boom, spurred on by the benefits of the falling price of a barrel of crude and cheaper energy costs.
From Aberdeen to Houston in Texas, Dubai and Perth, Western Australia, global oil and gas hubs are suffering a dose of economic reality after a 60pc slump in the price of oil since June and the fear that the cost of a barrel could remain at levels around $50 for years to come have prompted companies to cut back on investment.
Although building work on new office and residential developments is evident across the city, there are already signs that the impact of the job losses and investment cutback that have started to directly hit the oil industry, upon which the local economy depends, are being felt further afield.
A recent survey by accountancy firm Moore Stephens showed a 45pc jump in “risky mortgages” in the City – the highest level in Scotland. However, that hasn’t stopped some sellers rushing to capitalise on what could be the last days of the city’s property boom.
One Aberdeen mansion went on the market last month hoping to fetch £3.2m. If the property sells, it would beat the current record for a residential property in Aberdeen, which was achieved in December when a granite-built town house in the city’s exclusive Rubislaw Den neighbourhood was sold recently for just over £3m irrespective of concerns about the plummeting value of oil. Despite the high prices that continue to be asked for property, people in the city are growing nervous that tougher times could be just around the corner.
“There is certainly an air of doom and gloom around the place these days, ” one oil field engineer working in Aberdeen told The Sunday Telegraph.
That sense of doom has increased since the big oil majors began to lay off hundreds of workers. BP cut just under 10pc of its 3, 500-strong workforce in Aberdeen last month. It was followed by Sinopec-Talisman making similar lay-offs. Next week, Tullow Oil is expected to detail the scale of its cuts to headcount.See also:
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