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BP To Cut 600 North Sea Jobs
Oil giant BP has confirmed plans to shed about 600 jobs from its North Sea operations over the next two years.
The firm has taken the decision in light of "toughening conditions'' in the industry.
The majority of the posts are expected to be lost this year, with the rest to go next year, a spokesman said.
The move, which will affect both staff and agency contractors, will take the number of people working for the business in the North Sea from around 3,000 to roughly 2,400.
The move is part of a wider announcement being made by the company regarding its "upstream'', or exploration and production, part of the business around the world.
BP said it expects to shed at least 4,000 posts globally from that side of the business within a similar timescale.
Officials said that will take its total upstream workforce globally to 20,000 or less.
Making the announcements, BP stressed it remains committed to the North Sea but that the measures were necessary for it to stay competitive.
Mark Thomas, regional president for BP North Sea, said: "We are committed to the North Sea and see a long term future for our business here.
"For example, in 2016, we are continuing to invest around two billion dollars (#1.3 billion) of capital into North Sea projects and a further two billion in running our North Sea operations.
"This will sustain many hundreds of supply chain contractor jobs going forward.
"However, given the well-documented challenges of operating in this maturing region and in toughening market conditions, we need to take specific steps to ensure our business remains competitive and robust.
"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.
"We are speaking to our staff and agency contractor management, and will work with those affected over the coming months.''
Earlier this month, an industry body said UK oil and gas production surpassed expectations in 2015 but warned that redundancies were on the horizon due to continuing low oil prices.
Oil & Gas UK said production rose by around 7%-8% last year, defying projections that there would only be a marginal increase in 2015.
But it said times remain tough for the industry and its workers, with more job losses expected in the next few months.
BP's announcement comes just days after oil plummeted to its lowest price in 11 years amid mounting tensions in the Middle East.
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