BP Cuts North Sea Jobs

BP is planning to cut 800 contract jobs, or 2.4 percent of that work force, as part of a restructuring of its North Sea operations. The job losses will be spread among staff at the company's headquarters in Aberdeen, Scotland, other locations around Britain and offshore oil fields. The decision would reduce the number of contract employees for the company to 2,500 from 3,300.

In March, BP announced a major restructuring and cost cutting program designed to secure the long-term future of the company's North Sea operations, including 500 job losses among its internal staff. BP last month blamed lower prices for oil and natural gas, and pinched profit margins on refined products, for a 57 percent drop in first-quarter earnings before unusual items.

BP has now decided on the full extent of a North Sea job cut program that was announced in March this year, a BP spokesman said Friday. Approximately 500 BP jobs are to be axed and 800 contract positions. In March BP had said that 500 jobs would go and some contracting positions, but that it was carrying out a consultation process through April and May to determine exact numbers. A spokesman for BP said that because the contract staff were not directly employed by BP it was possible they could be redeployed to work elsewhere. Of the BP jobs 200 are expected to be at BP's Aberdeen headquarters and 300 from onshore and offshore operations.

Jake Molloy, of the OILC offshore workers union, said the job cuts were evidence of corporate greed by BP, which was the country's most profitable company last year with $13 billion profits. "The North Sea has been profitable year on year, yielding highest returns of any of BP's operations... The company is driven by greed," he said. "I think it has implications for the safe running of BP's offshore operations," he added.