Employees at the $23bn (£15bn) market cap company’s London operation, Hess Limited, have been put on a 90-day consultation period.

Subject to the outcome of the consultation, the London business, which focuses on UK oil and gas exploration and production, will cease trading by the end of the year.

Hess declined to confirm the number of employees affected. The company said in a statement: “Currently, the company is consulting with its employees in relation to this proposal and therefore no final decision has been reached.

“During a 90-day consultation period, business will be managed across the region as previously and therefore business activity will continue as normal.”

The planned closure of the London office follows the announcement by Hess on March 4 that it will exit its retail, energy marketing and energy trading businesses, as part of its ongoing transformation into a pure-play exploration and production company.

The announcement by Hess chairman and CEO John Hess was a response to Elliott, the corporation’s third largest investor with a 4pc stake, which said in January that it wanted Hess to consider a spin-off of its US onshore assets and the sale of its retail operations.

The hedge fund also plans to nominate five of its own directors to the Hess Corporation board at the company’s AGM in May.

Hess Limited’s accounts for the year to December 31, 2011, the most recent figures available, show that profits fell 57pc, down from $1.04bn (£685m) in 2010 to $447m in 2011.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/9967623/Hess-to-close-London-office-as-it-switches-focus-to-exploration.html