BP cuts 4,000 jobs in face of falling oil prices

A BP petrol station Image copyright Getty Images

UK oil firm BP said it would cut 4,000 jobs globally, 600 of which will be from its North Sea operations.

It comes as profits continue to suffer as a result of a 70% collapse in oil prices leading to a big cutback in investment across the oil industry.

The North Sea job cuts are expected to take place over a two-year period.

Meanwhile, Brazil's oil giant, Petrobras, announced a massive scale back of its investment plans thanks to the lower commodity price.

Petrobras will reduce investment by $32bn, 25%, over the next four years, its third cut in six months.

The Brazilian giant said it was adapting to a new economic outlook. Its problems have been exacerbated by a fall of a third in the value of Brazil's real, which makes servicing Petrobras's mammoth dollar debts that much more expensive.

BP said all the job losses would occur in its oil exploration and drilling business.

"We want to simplify structure and reduce costs without compromising safety. Globally, we expect the headcount in upstream to be below 20,000 by the end of the year," a company spokesman said.

The job losses amount to around 5% of BP's total global workforce of 80,000. BP currently employs around 3,000 people in the UK.

'Challenging' environment

BP said it remained committed to the North Sea and would invest about $4bn (£2.7bn) there this year.

But in a statement, the oil firm said given the "challenges" of operating in the North Sea and in "toughening market conditions" it needed to "take specific steps to ensure our business remains competitive and robust".

It added: "An inevitable outcome of this will be an impact on headcount and we expect a reduction of around 600 staff and agency contractor roles by the end of 2017, with the majority of these taking place this year.

BP staff and contractors working in Aberdeen, Sullom Voe in Shetland, and Grangemouth, are expected to be affected.

The company gave no breakdown of how many jobs are expected to go in each area of its North Seas operations.

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