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BP and ConocoPhillips to cut 530 North Sea jobs

15 January 2015

BP has announced a reduction in its North Sea oil field workforce of 300, and US oil major ConocoPhillips has said it will shed 230 jobs over the coming months. This follows similar moves by companies including Shell and Chevron last year. BP currently employs 3,500 people in the North Sea, with a further 11,000 elsewhere in the UK, while ConocoPhillips UK workforce will fall to 1,400.
Aberdeen (Image: Shutterstock)
Aberdeen (Image: Shutterstock)

BP has been downsizing since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The recent oil price reduction "has simply made this even more imperative", it said.

Trevor Garlick, Regional President for BP North Sea said: “We are committed to the North Sea and see a long term future for our business here. However, given the well documented challenges of operating in this maturing region and in toughening market conditions, we are taking specific steps to ensure our business remains competitive and robust, and we are aligning with the wider industry.”

He added: “Whilst our primary focus will be on improving efficiencies and on simplifying the way we work, an inevitable outcome of this will be an impact on headcount and we expect a reduction of

Falling employment in the North Sea mirrors the situation in other oil provinces worldwide, where the halving of oil prices over the last four months is leading to a widespread shakeout. Amongst many other recent retrenchment announcements in the sector, Houston-based oil services group Schlumberger said it would cut 9,000 jobs, or about 7% of its global workforce, in an effort to control costs.

In Aberdeen, Oil & Gas UK chief executive Malcolm Webb held a meeting with Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey, and renewed calls for a cut in tax.

“Some companies are paying 80% as the highest tax rate on fields in the North Sea. We would like to see 30% as the top tax rate and our industry treated as the same as any other, ” Webb said.

“We now have a situation where one third of UK offshore fields are in negative cash flow, that means approaching 100 fields. If we have sub-$50 oil for a couple of years it is inevitable that some will be closed and decommissioned.”

Webb said the closure of Britain’s ageing oilfields would endanger more profitable ones because pipeline networks were often connected.

Davey later announced that a taskforce would be set up to help the sector chaired by Andy Samuel, the first chief executive of the new regulator, the Oil and Gas Authority. He will report his findings by the end of February.

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