The UAE’s Dana Gas is cutting 40 per cent of the workforce at its head office in Sharjah, CEO Patrick Allman-Ward told reporters at the Middle East Gas Conference 2016 held in Abu Dhabi on 12-13 December.

The headcount reduction and other cost-cutting measures began in late 2015. The comments by the company come as oil prices fell below $31 a barrel on 12 January.

Dana Gas has also been hit by payment arrears in Egypt and Iraqi Kurdistan, which has reached $1bn, according to media reports. It has agreed a schedule of payments with the Egyptian government, and plans to continue investing there, Allman-Ward said.

However, no discussions have been held with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), following a court case that ordered the authority to pay Dana Gas $2bn.

No payments have been received and Dana Gas will not invest further in the region until the payment arrears dispute has been resolved.

The UK’s BP has announced it will cut 4,000 jobs in exploration and production, or about a sixth of this department, although few of these will be in the Middle East. Other oil majors have previously announced thousands of redundancies, leading US oil consultancy Graves & Co to predict that 250,000 oil workers were laid off in 2015, mainly in Texas.