Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell is planning to outsource about 3,200 IT jobs this year, it has confirmed.

Under the plan, the staff are expected to be transferred to three outsourcing firms by July, with EDS, T-Systems and AT&T having been selected from an original shortlist of six suppliers to take over running of the firm’s IT infrastructure.

News of the plan emerged after an email written by Goh Swee Chen, vice-president of IT infrastructure, was posted to an anti-Shell website. It has been confirmed by the firm as authentic.

Shell is expected to consult staff about the changes from this month. Some reports have suggested that about 400 IT management posistions will retained in-house by Shell once the staff transfer is completed.

The affected IT operations represent about 3% of Shell’s global workforce of more than 100,000. The oil giant invests heavily in technology, but much of that is investment is made in research and development work and field-testing technologies for its core business of extracting, processing and transporting oil.

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