Oil giant BP to cut staff by 15%

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By Shadia Nasralla and Ron Bousso

LONDON (Reuters) – BP will cut about 15% of its workforce in response to the coronavirus crisis and as part of Chief Executive Bernard Looney’s plan to move major oil and gas to renewable energy, he said on Monday.

Looney told employees in a global online appeal that the London-based company will cut 10,000 jobs from the current 70,100.

“We will now begin a process that will see nearly 10,000 people leave BP – most by the end of this year,” Looney said in a statement.

Reuters had earlier reported planned job cuts, citing three company sources.

The affected roles will be mostly office-based high-level positions and not front-line operational staff, the company said reductions that follow the April announcement of a 25% reduction in spending in 2020 after the coronavirus pandemic resulted in an unprecedented drop in oil demand.

BP also said it would find $2.5 billion in cost savings by the end of 2021 through digitization and integration of its operations.

The job cuts are also part of Looney’s drive to make the 111-year-old oil company more agile as it prepares for the shift to low-carbon energy, the sources said.

“This has always been part of the plan to make BP a leaner, faster and lower-carbon company,” Looney said.

Looney last month announced a major series of senior management appointments, halving the size of BP’s leadership team as part of its plan to reshape the company’s structure.

Shortly after taking office in February, the 49-year-old CEO said he was creating 11 divisions to “reinvent” BP and dismantle the traditional structure dominated by its oil and gas production business and refining, marketing and trading division.

Chevron Corp, the second-largest U.S. oil producer, said last month it would cut its global workforce from 10 percent to 15 percent as part of an ongoing restructuring.

Royal Dutch Shell, on the other hand, has launched a voluntary redundancy programme.

(GRAPHIC – Oil Majors; Spending 2020: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/editorcharts/yzdvxowmqpx/eikon.png)

(Reporting by Ron Bousso and Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Louise Heavens and David Goodman)

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