BP latest to slash oil jobs in Norway

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British oil company BP has become the latest oil industry player to relieve itself of costly staff in Norway, to help offset the impact of low oil prices. The British oil major plans to cut 20 percent of its staff in Norway, most of whom are based at Forus in Stavanger.

The cuts will eliminate 210 positions over the next two years. Employees were surprised, and their union representatives are expected to demand a full explanation as to why so many job cuts are necessary.

‘Heavy heart’
The company itself claimed it regretted the cuts. “It’s with a heavy heart that we’re doing this,” BP Norge’s spokesman Jan Erik Geirmo told business news website E24. “But given the development in the oil price, we don’t have any choice.”

Oil prices have plummeted in the past year, not least in the past few weeks, and  Geirmo said it was necessary to “reset” the company so it can better tolerate a low price level.

The company had 988 employees in Norway at New Year, of whom 112 were hired in on temporary assignments. They’ll be included in the 210 jobs about to be cut both this year and next. The cuts come on top of the 166 people who lost their jobs at BP last year.

Cuts offshore and onshore
State broadcaster NRK reported that BP Norge operates five oil fields in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, involving a total of 13 oil platforms and one production vessel.

“We’ll be cutting staff both offshore and onshore, Geirmo said. The land-based jobs on the block will be clarified by the end of May, while job cuts on the fields themselves will take more time to identify.The cuts in Norway come after BP’s headquarters announced the pending reduction of 4,000 jobs in the middle of January.

“Many employees are surely sad now,” Ørjan Holstad, employee representative for BP Norge told NRK. “No one wants to lose their job, and no one wants to lose colleagues.” Holstad said he was surprised by the size of the cuts, and said the union will demand an explanation, with the numbers and analyses BP has used to justify the cuts.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund