Oil giant BP announced Tuesday it will cut 4,000 jobs or 5 percent of its global workforce of about 80,000 due to plunging oil prices, the Wall Street Journal said. The oil giant, which expects to complete the staff reduction by the end of next year, is attempting to slash its operational costs in the face of a steep revenue drop.
The British company has suffered alongside other oil companies as the price of crude has dropped a staggering 70 percent since June 2014. On Monday, the price of oil slid to a 12-year low of just below $32 per barrel. In its latest quarterly earnings statement, BP reported revenues down 41.7 percent from the previous year to $54.73 billion. The company reports fourth-quarter and full-year results Feb. 2.
BP’s CEO Bob Dudley recently said he fully expects the price decline to linger into the first quarter of 2016 and beyond. "Prices are going to stay lower for longer. We have said it, and I think we are in this for a couple of years,” Dudley said in early January.
About 600 of the jobs that BP eliminates will be from its North Sea operations this year, reports BBC. About 4,000 people work in the region, which is an expensive area to drill and produce. BP has invested about $38 billion on exploration and drilling in the North Sea and produced over 5 billion barrels of oil and gas from the region. According to the company’s website, BP plans to invest another $11 billion in those efforts by 2017. Its North Sea operations are headquartered in Aberdeen, Scotland.
"BP’s announcement of job cuts is sad news for the staff and communities involved but are a reflection that world prices for oil and gas look set to be lower for longer," David Elmes, a global energy researcher at Warwick Business School, says. "Companies like BP have cut their costs to make production today more economic and postponed investments in developing higher cost oil and gas for the future. But today’s announcement reflects that developing and producing oil and gas in higher cost parts of the world is being pushed even further into the future."
The oil industry has lost at least 200,000 jobs due to the downturn, according to data collected through November 2015 by oil company Continental Resources. Those cuts span the industry from oil drilling firms to contractors and equipment sales companies such as Caterpillar. Royal Dutch Shell recently said it would cut 2,800 jobs in the first quarter of 2016. Chevron is in the process of cutting 6,000 to 7,000 jobs worldwide, or 10 percent of its workforce.