By DARA BUTTERFIELD
Oil and gas giant ConocoPhillips has confirmed it will cut 230 jobs in its North Sea operations after completing a review of its business.
ConocoPhillips, the world’s largest independent exploration and production company based on production and proved reserves, has been tipped to be the biggest oil producer in the North Sea in terms of production volume by the end of this year.
But the company has announced that staff numbers in the UK would be cut from 1,649 staff and contractors to 1,419 by March of next year.
This announcement comes just days after the firm announced plans to slash its global spending budget by 20% next year due to a 40% drop in oil prices to a five year low. Yesterday, crude was trading around the $66-barrel price, but market bears fear it could fall to as low as $40-barrel next year – despite high winter demand in Europe and N. America.
Staff in Aberdeen were advised to re-apply for their current jobs when informed of the restructuring at a town hall meeting.
A spokesman said: “ConocoPhillips launched a review of its UK business in August. As a result of this review, and to ensure improvements in our UK cost structure, we have restructured our organisation and will eliminate approximately 230 positions from ConocoPhillips operations across the UK.
“We regret having to make this difficult decision and will provide support to employees that will be affected.
“Staff are currently applying for positions in the restructured organisation and we anticipate the process will be completed by March 2015.”
The restructuring at Conoco has come after the launch of BP’s cost reduction exercise in the North Sea in line with rivals Shell and Chevron, which have axed hundreds of roles as low oil prices and high overheads take their toll.
BP has meanwhile declined to reveal the likely impact of its North Sea review.